Google has announced a new search feature that can directly link users to the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) if they search the term ‘clinical depression‘.

The PHQ-9 form is a self-administered, clinically validated, screening questionnaire. It is not intended as a diagnosis tool but rather as a private indicator to inform individuals of their symptom severity and help determine the need for an in-person evaluation. It is also used in practice to monitor depression severity and response to treatment.

The feature was developed by Google in collaboration with the nonprofit National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It will initially only be available on mobile and will be rolled out “in the next day or so”. The feature will take the form of a “Check if you’re clinically depressed” button which will appear below the ‘depression’ panel that appears after the user’s search.

How users can find the new link on their cell phones. Courtesy of Google.

“By tapping “Check if you’re clinically depressed,” you can take this private self-assessment to help determine your level of depression and the need for an in-person evaluation,” said NAMI in a statement. They hope that making access to PHQ-9 easier that more people, “will become aware of depression and seek treatment to recover and improve their quality of life.”

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