“Am I Depressed?” Google, NAMI Team Up to Screen for Depression

These days, it probably seems like a natural first step to turn to Google when you’re looking for an answer to virtually any question, from the current weather anywhere in the world to your favorite sports team’s score from last night to how to tie a tie. Now, the search engine is seeking to help steer people whose queries indicate that they might be struggling with depression toward resources that could be able to help them. As MobiHealthNews first reported, Google is teaming up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to guide searchers seeking to find out more about clinical depression toward a clinically validated screening test. “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 CEO Mary Giliberti writes in a guest blog post for Google.

Searching for “clinical depression” on Google, Giliberti explains, now automatically pulls up a “knowledge panel” that, along with general information about the condition, allows users to immediately begin filling out a clinical screening questionnaire called the PHQ-9. “The PHQ-9 can be the first step to getting a proper diagnosis,” Giliberti notes, adding that sharing the results of the assessment with a medical professional can help facilitate conversations about treatment. She also notes that, despite the condition’s prevalence and the fact that it is highly treatable, “only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment,” making initiatives like this one particularly important.

MobiHealthNews also notes that this is part of a larger push on Google’s part, and that of its parent company Alphabet, toward establishing themselves in the health care world. CNBC noted this spring that the company is involved in over a dozen health-related projects, including anti-aging programs and various initiatives involving artificial intelligence. Alphabet, of course, isn’t the only company making moves in this area; earlier this year, we reported on Amazon’s top-secret “1492” initiative, which appears to be focused on electronic health records (EHRs) and telemedicine, among other projects. Stay tuned…

Click here to read the MobiHealthNews article on Google and NAMI efforts to screen for depression.

Click here to read the blog post from Google on the NAMI initiative. 

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