Google recently teamed up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to provide mental health services to its users. When someone enters a search for depression content on Google, he or she will receive a prompt to “check if you’re clinically depressed.” The search platform will then direct him or her to a free screening questionnaire on its site called PHQ-9. Once they take the clinically validated test, it will provide a score that ranks the severity of the user’s depression.
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The results will not be recorded or shared anywhere else, Google says. Instead, the test is intended to provide valuable insight into the patient’s mental health and inform further conversations with their doctor regarding diagnosis and treatment.
About 10 percent of Google searches are health-related, the company told Financial Times. And while approximately one in five Americans experience depression, only about one-third of them request professional help, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
In a blog post on Google, the CEO of NAMI Mary Giliberti said she hoped this feature would increase the number of Americans seeking treatment for mental illnesses.
“Clinical depression is a treatable condition which can impact many aspects of a person’s life,” Giliberti said. “The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis.”
Know the hidden warning signs of depression and symptoms of bipolar disorder you might be ignoring—without the Google search.