Am I Depressed? Can I Self-Diagnose Depression?

Mindful Healing_Am I Depressed_Can I Self-Diagnose Depression

The short answer is no, but you can self-assess to determine if therapy is the next step for you. A professional diagnosis, as you might imagine, must come from someone with proper mental health training and education like a National Certified Counselor (NCC) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

Aren’t Online Depression Tests Controversial?

They can be. Mostly because mental health is a spectrum and checking off multiple choice questions without the availability to follow-up questions can’t replace a professional counselor. Also, some of the online tests are used as marketing tools to capture your contact information for newsletters and advertising. The biggest concern is that they are not intended to replace a professional diagnosis but can start the conversation and help in assessment and make you aware of symptoms that are compatible with depression.

In a goodwill effort, Google partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to create a self-assessment test. There were two concerns; one was that you were possibly sharing your mental health information with a big corporation like Google, the second one was that while NAMI is a great support organization for families dealing with mental health issues, they are not a medical organization.

How Can I Self-Assess Online?

We can’t stress enough that these are NOT diagnostic tools! Please consult a mental health professional for a diagnosis. These are quizzes to help you assess symptoms and decide if the next step for you is to seek a counselor or therapist.

John M. Grohol, Psy. D., Editor of Psych Central, was one of the critics of Google’s Depression Test, mostly out of concerns for privacy. He is also a Doctor of Psychology with a multi-decade career in mental health. He has two quizzes, the Quick Depression Test and the slightly longer Depression Quiz.

Kaiser Permanente and Pfizer also have a quick Depression self-assessment tool that is extremely user-friendly. Although, if you had the same concerns about Google sponsoring a mental health test, then you may have concerns about who sponsors Kaiser’s quiz. Kaiser is a large insurance company and Pfizer is one of the largest pharmaceutical companies that treat mental health disorders like a disease. Mental health disorders are NOT a disease.

What Do I Do with the Test Results?

We have a great article about where to start when feeling depressed. In that article, we talk about self-assessment and 10 signs you might be depressed. The most important next step is to talk to someone you trust. Someone you trust can be a family member or a friend, but it is also common for the person you trust the most with your depression to be a stranger. Reaching out to a professional counselor can remove doubt about bias or personal history you have with friends and family. You can also seek out others who experience and understand depression. In Portland, there are meetups, large and small, where you can socialize with others that have the same challenges. The largest meetup is the Portland Anxiety & Depression Group. As of the date of this blog post, they are 4,800 members strong.

I Already Feel Like I Can’t Cope

If you feel like life isn’t worth living or having thoughts about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Local crisis workers are available 24/7 to listen and help.

Do I Need Insurance to See a Therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC, we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates. According to Psychology Today, almost half (47.7 percent) of those diagnosed with depression do not seek help due to assumptions about the cost of treatment. Please don’t let this be a barrier towards seeking help.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Anxiety Disorder and/or Depression,



Seeking Help with Depression in Portland

depressed woman sitting in the dark bedroom

Portland, Oregon is one of the top-rated cities for Depression

Depression is the 2nd most common mental health issue in the United States, and the leading cause of disability in adults aged 15-44. The rates are even more staggering in Portland. Research indicates that Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington are rated as two of the most depressed cities in the U.S. Portland’s own OHSU Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Alfred Lewy, agrees that depression is prevalent in Portland.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Symptoms typically include a distortion in mood. Often, people navigating depression experience a lingering sadness, emptiness, disconnection, or melancholy.
  • Irritability and anger are also typical mood disruptions that people experience during a Depressive Episode. Males are more likely than females to display irritability as the primary mood distortion, though anyone on any end of the gender spectrum can display this.
  • Other symptoms include loss of interest in activities or loss of pleasure in activities, including spending time with others.
  • Some symptoms deal with energy and changes in cognitive functioning. These include fatigue, difficulty with decision making, problems with concentration, and excessive guilt. Some people find it near impossible to get out of bed.
  • People with depression also can experience changes (increases or decreases) with appetite, weight, and sleep.
  • Other symptoms include passive or active suicidal ideations: these include thoughts of just not wanting to exist anymore, thoughts that life or others would be better off if you were dead, wanting to kill oneself, or the mind planning how to kill oneself.

What causes depression?

This is an important question, and one that has no singular answer. Many who experience depression feel like it is their fault (remember one of the symptoms is excessive guilt), and it is not. Depression is a relatively normal mental health issue and is typically a stress reaction that can occur due to a number of circumstances. These factors can include genetics, biological factors in brain/body chemistry, physical changes to the body, psychological factors in coping mechanisms, social factors, and environmental factors can all contribute to depression. Even a major life change can bring out an episode of depression.

How do I know if I need help?

Generally speaking, if you notice that symptoms are affecting your quality of life, are causing you personal distress, or are interfering with your functioning at work, home, in relationships, or other elements of life, it is a good time to seek help. Many people live with a low-grade depression (commonly called Dysthymia) and Major Depressive Episodes for several years due to stigma, shame, the energy problems depression causes, or the fact that they are functioning and can endure. If you think your quality of life can be improved by shifting your mood, it’s a good idea to reach out to a mental health professional.

If you are experiencing suicidal ideations, it is also time to seek help and know you are not alone and this can get better. When the mind starts going to the stages of planning a suicide, the risk increases significantly. If you are in the planning stages of suicide and are looking for immediate help, here are some helpful resources for crisis intervention:

  • Multnomah County Crisis Line: 503-988-4888
  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-279-8255
  • Crisis Text Line:  Text “HOME” to 741741
  • You may also call 911 if you do not think you can prevent suicide

Treatment for Depression

The good news is depression can be treated and you shouldn’t be expected to do it alone. Therapy is a collaborative process with the goal of healing and developing personal empowerment. Together, we will work towards your goals, identify barriers, develop grounding skills, heal wounds, and increase your cognitive flexibility. We also take a look at physiological factors like nutrition, exercise, sleep, and other health behaviors to help treat this complicated condition.

Do I need insurance to see a therapist?

No. In fact, at Mindful Healing Portland LLC., we accept clients on a sliding scale. We are currently accepting clients for our sliding scale rates.


If you live in Portland or the Portland area and want information or help with Depression,