Following the high-profile suicides of musicians Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington, more people are openly discussing the dangers of depression and why the symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. To try and help those in the US who may be suffering from the illness, Google is offering a screening questionnaire for clinical depression to those who search for the condition on their smartphones.
The company has partnered with the US National Alliance on Mental Illness (Nami) for the project, which will offer those who conduct mobile Google searches for “depression” the chance to check if they’re clinically depressed.
The PHQ-9 questionnaire is anonymous and clinically validated to test a person’s likely level of depression, though Nami warns it’s “not meant to act as a singular tool for diagnosis.” It could, however, encourage people to seek help.
While episodes of clinic depression affect around one in five people in the US during their lifetimes, only 50 percent of Americans who suffer from it receive treatment. And most people who do show signs such as anxiety and fatigue wait an average of six to eight years before receiving help.
Google and Nami want to raise awareness of the issue and hope the questionnaires' results will see people “have a more informed conversation” with their doctors.
With Google now being the first place many people turn when investigating their illnesses and symptoms, the diagnostic tool’s nine questions could be enough to convince sufferers they need to see a professional.