Once again, I’d love your help please.
Earlier this year the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) made a strong recommendation that every adult in the USA should be screened for depression.
This is huge.
It’s also pretty complicated.
Now, you and I both know how serious an issue depression is, and in fact here in the USA major depressive order affects 15.7 million adults in a given year – that’s about 6.7% of the population aged 18 and over.
Despite these huge numbers, though, nearly two out of three people suffering from depression receive no treatment of any kind.
Many have no contact with the healthcare system, ending up “muddling through” or trying to treat themselves.
Imagine doing that if you had a broken leg rather than a mood disorder.
So I think screening everyone makes a lot of sense, at least on paper.
Where it gets complicated, though, is that you obviously can’t just do it once, because you’d miss all those who weren’t currently suffering, but might be in a week, a month, or a year’s time.
It seeems to me that some kind of regular ‘checkup’ is therefore crucial .
However, look at the currently available screening tools and you may agree that asking someone once a week, for example, if they ‘had thoughts that they would be better off dead or of hurting themselves in some way’, might in itself trigger negative thoughts.
A depression test that leaves you feeling more depressed?
It doesn’t seem such a great idea to me.
But it got me thinking.
My new book contains a daily questionnaire which rates your emotional, physical and social health, giving you an overall well-being score, and it does this in order to direct you to one of three tailored “nudges” – some action you could take today to help you feel better tomorrow.
It therefore gives people a benefit from taking the test each day.
So what if “my” test actually correlates with the scores you’d get from answering one of the big, existing, tried-and-tested depression tests?
In this way we’d end up with a screening tool that people could actually use EVERY DAY – not just once every few months.
Okay, why don’t you and I put this idea to the test?
Please click on the link below to take two brief tests at the same time: the well-being test from “Nudge Your Way to Happiness” and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ–9), one of the tools recommended by the USPSTF.
Once I have a bunch of data, I can explore how the two tests relate to one another, then report back.