Depression screening is a type of psychological test done to determine if one is suffering from depression. These tests may be administered by a psychiatrist or psychologist, and generally feature a series of questions regarding one's perceived mental health and emotional well-being. A depression screening is an important first step to determine if one is suffering from depression and could benefit from treatment such as therapy or medication.
In addition to the more standardized depression screening tests administered by mental health professionals, there are a number of depression screenings available online for free. These tests may be taken confidentially and privately by individuals who may worry that they are suffering from depression, and want to learn whether their symptoms warrant a visit to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Though these screenings are not intended to be diagnostic tools, they often work well for someone who is wondering about their mental health.
Most types of depression screening tests feature similar questions. These questions typically include items such as how often one feels sad, if one is sleeping or eating more or less than usual, if one is participating in activities previously enjoyed or has lost interest in these activities, and if one ever has suicidal thoughts. The screening may also include questions about previous bouts with depression or mood swings, as well as if anyone in one's immediate family has been diagnosed with depression or another mental illness.
These are just a few of the questions that may be included to help a healthcare professional get a clear picture of one's mental state. It is important to be honest on a depression screening for various reasons. First, a mental health professional needs to be able to accurately diagnose patients with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illnesses. In addition, if it is determined after a depression screening that one is suffering from depression, the screening may be able to help determine the degree of depression, and whether it is mild, moderate, or major depression.
After a depression screening and correct diagnosis, a mental health professional will be able to determine a course of treatment. Some people's depression symptoms may improve simply with medication and changes to diet or exercise, while others may need medication in conjunction with individual or group therapy. Some people may experience depression only once in their life, such as after a traumatic event, while others may need to deal with it for their entire lives. If one ever feels suicidal, it is important to seek help immediately.