Google, NAMI jointly develop depression, mental health test for Americans

August 28, 2017

Tech giant Google and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in the US have partnered and developed a test that could help Americans check for depression or mental illness through their mobile device.

People in the US who type “clinical depression” in Google search via a mobile device will now be invited to check if they are clinically depressed via a screening questionnaire.

NAMI CEO Mary Giliberti said in a blog post that she wanted to use Google to increase the proportion of US citizens who actually seek help for depression.

“Clinical depression is a very common condition, in fact, approximately one in five Americans experience an episode in their lifetime.However, despite its prevalence, only about 50% of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment,” Gilberti said.

Google said those who click through from the search suggestion will see a “Knowledge Panel” which will give you an option to “check if you are clinically depressed”.

The test, called a PHQ-9, is described by the search engine as a clinically validated screening questionnaire and is designed to test what level of depression a person may be suffering.

Giliberti said the results can help people then have a more informed conversation with their doctor.

“Clinical depression is a treatable condition which can impact many aspects of a person’s life. The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis,” Giliberti added.

The NAMI CEO said people who have symptoms of depression experience an average of a 6- to 8-year delay in getting treatment following the onset of symptoms.

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