Knowing Your Healthy Number - The Depression Screening Tool
By: Sara Smith, BSW
One in four Americans experiences a depressive episode in their lifetime. Depression does not have one single cause and its severity and symptoms vary from one person to the next. Everyone experiences a sad mood from time to time or may experience symptoms of depression, so how can you tell if what you are experiencing is depression? One way to evaluate your symptoms is to use a screening tool such as the Patient Health Questionnaire for Depression, or the PHQ-2. You may recognize the questions in the PHQ-2, as they are becoming more routinely used for screening across healthcare systems. The questions in the PHQ-2 ask about the most common symptoms of depression.
If you look at these questions and reflect on the last two weeks of your life, ask yourself how often you may have felt this way. If you didn’t have any of these feelings, then you would choose “0”. If you had some of these feelings, maybe two or three days in the last two weeks, you would choose “1”. If these feelings occurred more than half of the days, or longer than one week out of the last two weeks, you would choose “2”. And finally, if you have been feeling this way most days, or nearly every day, you would choose “3”.
After completing these questions your answers are combined to form a total score. If that total is 2 or higher, you may be experiencing a depressive episode. You may also be experiencing other symptoms of depression such as changes in sleep patterns, feeling tired, sudden weight loss or gain, feeling bad about yourself, trouble concentrating, changes in how fast or slow you are moving or speaking, or any thoughts of hurting yourself or thinking you would be better off dead.
If you are concerned that you are having symptoms of depression, please call your healthcare provider or Behavioral Health Partners to make an appointment. Click here to view the full Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) form with scoring information.
Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, offering eligible individuals mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression.