Google is hoping to help people suffering from clinical depression . To accomplish this noble goal the search giant is adding a questionnaire to specific search results. The idea being that people can take their first steps to being diagnosed, and hopefully start seeking treatment.
While we have made much progress towards treating psychiatric disorders, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness. This is a shameful situation, and one which we should all be fighting to change. After all, depression can strike anyone at any time without any warning.
Google Helps Diagnose Depression
According to Google, “approximately one in five Americans experience an episode [of clinical depression] in their lifetime”. Unfortunately, only about 50 percent of sufferers actually get the treatment they need. For a disorder that’s so prevalent, these are shocking statistics.
Searching for “Depression” or “Clinical Depression” on Google currently reveals a Knowledge Panel for the condition. This provides information about the disorder, as well as symptoms and treatment options. However, Google is now going one step further in its efforts to help.
When searching on mobile, the Knowledge Panel will now include the option to click, “Check if you’re clinically depressed”. This will take you to a PHQ-9 questionnaire designed to test your level of depression. This questionnaire is a clinically validated diagnostic tool anyone can use.
The idea is that people worried they may be depressed can take this test to actually validate their concerns. And if it turns out that their fears are correct they can use the information to seek help. Treatments are available, but it’s reliant on the sufferer actually seeking the help they need.
Google Does the Right Thing
Google’s old motto of “Don’t be evil” has been roundly mocked over the last few years. And in 2015, the company changed its motto to “Do the right thing” instead. People may not always judge Google to be following its own advice, but on this occasion it most definitely is. If Google encourages just one person get help for depression then this whole endeavor will be worthwhile.
Have you ever searched for “Clinical Depression” on Google? Was it for you or for a friend? What information were you hoping to find? What do you think of Google’s efforts to help people seek treatment for their depression? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Denis Bocquet via Flickr