Depression Screening

Depression Screening

Depression screening is a way of finding out if a person is likely to be depressed. It is a process of assessing an individual's current mental health status by asking a series of questions about symptoms, health history, and life experiences that could indicate the presence of a depression disorder. Screening is a first step in getting the help a person may need.


Before a depression screening, the doctor or healthcare practitioner will usually take a complete medical history and a details of symptoms related to depression.

It is important to be honest when answering the questions. It is important to answer all the questions truthfully and accurately, as this will help the practitioner make an accurate diagnosis.


During the depression screening, the practitioner will use a variety of instruments and assessments to measure an individual's depression.

  • A depression rating scale will be used to measure symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, loss of interest, low mood, and fatigue.
  • Questions about past events, such as the death of a loved one, serious illness, or a stressful event, may be asked.
  • The practitioner may also ask about any use of drugs or alcohol, and any current medications.

The practitioner will also assess an individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors during the session.

Types of Depression Screening

There are several types of depression screening that may be used, depending on the individual's needs and the practitioner's preferences.

  • The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) is a 21-item questionnaire that measures the severity of depression symptoms.
  • The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) is an assessment that is used to diagnose depression.
  • The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression Scale (CES-D) is a 20-item questionnaire that measures symptoms of depression.

Risks of Depression Screening

Depression screenings are generally considered to be safe and do not carry any serious risks.

However, it is important to ensure that the person completing the screening is willing and able to answer the questions truthfully and accurately, as this is necessary for an accurate diagnosis.

Why is Depression Screening Important?

Depression screenings are important for several reasons. First, it can provide a more accurate diagnosis than simply asking the individual about their symptoms. Secondly, it can help to identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to the depression. Finally, it can help to develop an appropriate plan of action for treatment.

When to Have a Depression Screening

It is generally recommended that individuals who are exhibiting signs of depression or who have been diagnosed with depression in the past should have a depression screening every 3 to 6 months.

It is important to note that depression screenings are not a substitute for a full medical evaluation. It is important to seek the help of a qualified health professional if symptoms of depression persist.