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.
E-MAIL US OR CALL US AT 503-878-8588 TO SCHEDULE YOUR INTAKE TODAY.