Google Wants to Know If You’re Depressed

/ 2 years ago

How do you feel?

Depression is a serious problem. Well, in fact, mental health in general is. It is important, after all, to, generally speaking, feel good. In the isolated world of the internet and general 21st-century living, however, there are concerns if it is being monitored enough in society.

Google has, therefore, decided to take an initiative by asking its users ‘How do you feel?’.

It’s a question that stumped Mr. Spock in Star Trek 4 while he was perusing the 23rd-century equivalent of the internet. There is growing evidence to support that a more technologically bound existence will make you more depressed, therefore, it is a very valid question to ask. Being depressed is no laughing matter, and no, that wasn’t a joke.

How will Google know if I’m depressed?

Google has said in a report by the BBC that if it finds a user searching for keywords such as ‘am I depressed’ or ‘depression’ that it will prompt the person to take a short questionnaire.

In partnership with the US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMA), the questions are set to determine if the person may have clinical depression. NAMA has said on the subject: “While this tool can help, it’s important to note that PHQ-9 is not meant to act as a singular tool for diagnosis”.

The tool is by no means a definitive answer. It is hoped, however, that it might help people correctly identify if they are depressed.

Some of the questions will include:

  • Do you have little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • Any difficulty concentrating?
  • Do you find it hard to read or watch television?

Google has made it very clear that the quiz is optional and completely non-intrusive. If you decide to take the quiz, you will not be monitored in any way at all.

It certainly makes a change from creating VR software to help staff training, although this sums Google up as a company. Always innovating and thinking outside the box.

While every venture of theirs is not a complete success, I must applaud Google for this one.


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