Google's Knowledge Graph cards contain large chunk of information on various subjects. Since 2012, Google has been updating these cards to help the users. Last year, the tech giant started adding health-related cards to the Search. These cards carried information on symptoms for diseases along with usual treatments for them. As the latest addition to the Knowledge Graph cards, Google is including a clinically validated screening questionnaire on depression.
The Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9) is clinically approved “to test what your likely level of depression may be.” To further ensure that the information is accurate, Google has collaborated with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Major depressive disorder is often referred to as clinically significant depression or clinical depression by Mental health professionals. It is a treatable condition that can affect person's life. The PHQ-9 acts as the initial step towards diagnosing the condition.
Not a singular tool for diagnosis though...
The PHQ-9 questionnaire on Google is not just a link to redirect to another site. Instead, it opens right in Search as a dedicated assistance. Google states that the entire drill is private and is meant to help the users in evaluating whether they need to see a therapist or not. Nevertheless, NAMI also reminds users that the PHQ-9 evaluation is not a “singular tool for diagnosis.”
In a blog post, Mary Giliberti, CEO, NAMI, writes:
Clinical depression is a very common condition—in fact, approximately one in five Americans experience an episode in their lifetime. However, despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment. To help raise awareness of this condition, we’ve teamed up with Google to help provide more direct access to tools and information to people who may be suffering.
Going by the statistics, the results show that those who have symptoms of depression go through an average of a 6-8 year delay before turning up for treatment. Awareness about depression can help users in identifying it and getting help faster. Notably, Google is not the only company working on depression, Alphabet's Verily is also focusing on mental health issues and gathering data about the same for creating a “personalised approach to treatment.”
The PHQ-9 questionnaire will appear in Google search result when you search for "depression" and other mental health related queries. For now, it will only be available for Google on mobile in the US.