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CAIRO – 31 August 2017: Google teamed up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and launched a private self-screening assessment, the Patient Health Questionnaire “PHQ-9”, to help users check their mental health. The questionnaire is available for Google users based in the U.S. who make depression-related queries on the search engine.
When searching on depression-related topics, users will receive a prompt saying, “Check if you are clinically depressed”. The assessment helps users keep their mental health checked by providing a score indicating the severity of the user’s depression through asking about general interest in activities, eating habits, sleeping habits and overall mood.
Google explained that users’ data and information will not be recorded or shared, and it confirmed that the goal is to encourage users seek assistance and support when needed, as PHQ-9 is not a final diagnosis.
Google previously launched a location-specific pollen counter, a BMI calculator, and provides a box of verified information called the “knowledge panel” containing symptoms and treatments for a number of common conditions, including the flu, tonsillitis and headaches.
The World Health Organization (WHO) refers to depression as a common illness worldwide. The international organization reports that more than 300 million people around the world are affected by depression. It states that more women are affected by depression than men. The organization also highlights that depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Furthermore, the WHO says that depression with moderate or severe intensity may become a serious health condition and can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to disability or suicide.