Depression Screening

Depression screening can be done as a self-assessment by taking online depression quizzes and tests, or by a mental health specialist, or therapist. This article offers information depression screening, and a comparison of self help depression tests and professional help.

Looked at in one way, there are two types of depression screening: those that you administer to yourself and those administered by a healthcare professional. This article will help you understand the two different types of depression screening and how to know when you need to rely on the type of screening done by a mental health professional, not just your own take on an online test or depression quiz. Remember that a) an online assessment can never give you a diagnosis and b) that symptoms that are part of depression may also be indicative of other issues.



Depression Screening Through Self-Assessment

Depression self-assessments from high quality sources, like Psych Central or the Mayo Clinic cover content like the following. Here are the key types of questions they will ask you.

  • whether you’re moving slowly
  • whether you’re feeling hopeless
  • whether you’re having problems with concentration
  • whether you’re feeling a lack of pleasure or joy in life
  • whether you’re having difficulty making decisions
  • whether you’re experiencing a loss of interest in life
  • whether you’re feeling ongoing sadness
  • whether you’re persistently agitated or anxious
  • whether you’re feeling fatigue or lack of energy
  • whether you have to expend a great deal of effort  to accomplish even the most trivial things
  • whether you are having frequent feelings of guilt
  • whether you are experiencing frequent feelings of failure
  • whether you feel empty or lifeless
  • whether your sleep is disturbed
  • whether you have been having thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself in any way
  • whether you have feelings of being trapped
  • whether you are feeling depressed
  • whether you have experienced changes in weight, either gain or loss

If one or more of these depression symptoms is something you’ve been experiencing, you may want to begin by seeking out one of the quality online assessments listed in the source section at the end of this article, consult your primary care physician, or seek out a mental health professional.

Professional Depression Screening

There are several ways to get a professional screening for depression by a mental health professional.

National Depression Screening Day occurs each year in October during Mental Illness Awareness Week. On this day, 3,000 nationwide sites offer free, anonymous screening. The locations can be found listed at -

A mental health screening by a mental health professional will likely involve questions very like the ones involved in the self-assessment. You may even be given a questionnaire to fill out before seeing the mental health worker, so the beginning portion of the visit may seem just about identical to the depression self-assessment.

There are, however, several notable differences. One difference is that there may be some educational information first to help you have a greater understanding of both depression itself as well as the questions you will be asked. This may help you to answer any questions more appropriately.

Second, the depression assessment that you fill out will be reviewed not just by you but by a mental health professional who may ask follow-up questions to gain a greater understanding of your situation. This is important because depression shares symptoms with other illnesses and conditions, and having some of the symptoms of depression does not mean that you have depression.

Third, the time with the mental health professional is an opportunity for you to ask questions. Perhaps some of the wording on the depression screening questionnaires is unclear to you. Or your not sure if the words used in the depression screening questions really describe your symptoms. Perhaps you feel that there are other symptoms that are not addressed by the depression screening questions that are an important part of what you are experiencing. All three of these differences make this second type of depression screening significantly different from the first.

Sources of Quality Depression Screening Online*

*If you think you may be depressed, please seek the care of a physician or mental health professional, the only people who can make a diagnosis of depression.

Related Article: Depression Types >>