Google is offering a test for depression

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google has a new feature designed to help people suffering from depression.

Users in the United States who search for “depression” or “clinical depression” will now be offered a questionnaire to test their depression levels and help determine whether they should seek professional help, Google said in a blog post.

Users who search for information on depression will be shown a box at the top of their screen encouraging them to “check if you’re clinically depressed.” The clinically validated test, called PHQ-9, asks about energy, appetite and concentration levels, among other things.

The tech firm said it recognized that the information was “sensitive and private,” and that it would not store the responses.

Google said 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.

Clinical depression affects roughly one in five Americans at some point in their lives. But individuals with depression symptoms take an average of six to eight years before they seek professional help, according to NAMI.

“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.

Research released in May found the percentage of younger children and teens hospitalized for suicidal thoughts or actions in the U.S. has doubled over nearly a decade.