Mobile users in the U.S. searching for “depression” in Google may notice a new test option that tells them whether or not they’re really experiencing clinical depression.
The new “check if you’re clinically depressed” feature, Google announced in a news release Wednesday, is a private clinically validated screening questionnaire called PHQ-9.
The test aims to help determine a person’s depression and his or her need for an in-person medical evaluation.
While the PHQ-9 is not meant to be a singular tool for diagnosis, it can be someone’s first step, Mary Giliberti, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, wrote in the news release.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression.
And it affects more than 15 million American adults (approximately 6.7 percent of the U.S. adult population) each year.
People experiencing symptoms of clinical depression usually delay treatment for 6-8 years after the onset of symptoms.
“We hope that by making this information available on Google, more people will become aware of depression and seek treatment to recover and improve their quality of life,” Giliberti wrote.
Users can find the feature inside the Knowledge Panel, a section that pops up at the top of Google search results and includes key facts, photos and more for any given subject.
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