Google rolls out new online tool to help diagnose depression

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A new feature has been launched by Google which is set to help people suffering from depression.

At present, it will only be available to users in the US who search for either “depression” or “clinical depression”.

A questionnaire will then be offered whereby users can test their level of depression and the feature will determine whether they need to seek professional help.

A box will appear at the top of the user’s screen encouraging them to “check if you’re clinically depressed”. It is a professional test known as the PHQ-9 test and asks several questions including ones about your appetite and concentration levels.

The information collected will not be saved as Google recognises that it is “sensitive and private”.

Google said that the initiative was developed in partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“The results of the PHQ-9 can help you have a more informed conversation with your doctor,” wrote Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI.

Roughly one in five people will be affected by depression at some point in their life but it is believed that on average sufferers take six to eight years before they seek professional help.

“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,” explained Giliberti.

In the last decade research has revealed that the number of younger children and teenagers that are hospitalised with suicidal thoughts has nearly doubled.

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