Only about half of people who are depressed seek treatment, and Google says it wants to help. The company is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Health to deploy a tool the groups hope will encourage those at risk of depression to seek help, reports Forbes. The set-up is simple: Depression-related search terms will prompt a pop-up window that asks, "Are you depressed?" Answer yes and you'll be directed to a clinically validated nine-part questionnaire called PHQ-9 currently used to help diagnose depression. People can do with the results what they like, but NAMI hopes the test will at least arm users with basic info that might serve as the impetus to get help, or to take the results to a doctor.
"You can take this private self-assessment to help determine your level of depression and the need for an in-person evaluation," NAMI's CEO Mary Giliberti writes on the Google blog. Newsweek points out the "irony" that some mental health problems, particularly related to seeking health info, have been blamed on "incessant Googling." Just Googling medical symptoms has been shown to increase anxiety. Google and NAMI seem to have decided that those searching depression-related terms may be the key audience to target. Sample questions: "Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or so fidgety or restless that you have been moving a lot more than usual?” (Climbing has been shown to help fight depression.)