Google, the go-to search engine for over 70 percent of internet users worldwide, has expanded its capability to lend a helping hand to users as it’ll now help diagnose depression when someone searches for it.
Now whenever a user searches for ‘clinical depression’ on Google on mobile, they’ll see a ‘Knowledge Panel’ which will give them an option to check if they’re clinically depressed via an online questionnaire.
Google uses the PHQ-9, a clinically validated questionnaire that helps in checking the level of depression. The Silicon Valley giant has partnered with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to ensure that the information shared in the questionnaire is accurate and useful.
The feature is currently being rolled out in the US.
The National Alliance also mentioned that approximately one in five Americans suffer from depression and only 50 percent of the cases are treated.
“Clinical depression is a very common condition. However, despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment,” NAMI stated.
“To help raise awareness of this condition, we’ve teamed up with Google to help provide more direct access to tools and information to people who may be suffering,” they added.
Users can make use of the PHQ-9 questionnaire that is available directly via Google search results to get a more informed opinion about their depression before they get in touch with a doctor regarding the same.
“Clinical depression is a treatable condition which can impact many aspects of a person’s life. 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,” NAMI concluded.
How Does this Help?
Aforementioned, Google is the most popular search engine globally as well as in the USA. The main issue with depression seems to be the lack of diagnosis resulting in numerous cases going undetected and also majorly because people treat it as a trivial issue.
NAMI also mentioned that on an average, people who exhibit symptoms of depression experience a delay of 6-8 years in getting treated after the symptoms start to show up.
Google’s intervention in the matter can help expand the visibility around the issue and get more people to self-diagnose.
This feature has no negative effects, it’s a win-win situation. Those suffering from clinical depression will be made aware of their situation and those who are not will still likely be more informed than before the questionnaire.