Search giant partners with US National Alliance on Mental Illness.

“Now when you search for “clinical depression” on Google on mobile,” reads Google’s blog post on the subject, “you’ll see a Knowledge Panel that will give you the option to tap “check if you’re clinically depressed”, which will bring you to PHQ-9, a clinically validated screening questionnaire to test what your likely level of depression may be.”

The search giant has partnered with the US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to roll out the project which initially is only available to users in the US, though people in other countries may have access on the mobile version of Google. Vidushi Tekriwal, the Google exec responsible for the project, said that Google and began working on the project “towards the beginning of this year.”

1 in 5 Americans will suffer from depression at some point in their life, but only around half will seek help. Those that do, typically wait around 6-8 years before seeing a professional.

Far more common than you think

Roughly 20% of Americans will suffer from a diagnosable form of depression at some point in their life, say NAMI, but only around half will seek help for the issue. NAMI also said that people with the symptoms of depression (anxiety, insomnia, or fatigue) currently wait an average of six to eight before looking for 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.”

1 in 20 searches

Google also say that around 1 in 20 searches on its search engines are currently health related, but would not disclose the percentages related to depression. “We believe that awareness of depression can help empower and educate you, enabling quicker access to treatment. And while this tool can help, it’s important to note that PHQ-9 is not meant to act as a singular tool for diagnosis.”

Google hopes that by prompting users with its new questionnaire and placing it front and centre of results, more people will become aware of their illness and seek treatment.