The tech giant is teaming up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to create a special search engine feature to help people with depression.
Google wants to make your life easier, and not just when it comes to searching for an easy weeknight dinner recipe or finding out what's causing your recent acne breakout. Starting today, the search engine giant is teaming up with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to help Google.com visitors find out if they have symptoms of depression and raise awareness for the mental health disorder.
As of this afternoon, if you type "depression" into the Google search bar, a panel will appear asking if you would like to check if you’re clinically depressed. Clicking on this prompt will direct users to a survey that asks a series of questions to identify whether or not they have depressive symptoms. The survey, called PHQ-9, is a clinically-validated questionnaire to evaluate a person's levels of depression.
"We believe that awareness of depression can help empower and educate you, enabling quicker access to treatment," the National Alliance on Mental Illness said in a guest post on Google's blog. "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."
Each year, about 15 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with depression. In addition to the obvious causes such as trauma or grief, other factors can also trigger symptoms, including certain illnesses, poor sleep, even changes in the weather. For some, depression may seemingly appear out of nowhere. Whatever the cause, it's important to be aware of the symptoms of depression: eating more or less than usual, trouble concentrating, lethargy, and feelings of worthlessness are just a few to look out for.
In their guest post, the National Alliance on Mental Illness added that while PHQ-9 shouldn't be the singular tool used to diagnose depression, it's a good first step to educate people on the symptoms and encourage them to seek treatment from a doctor. Google's new tool will hopefully help those searching for answers about their mental health do just that.