These days one of the first things most young Americans do when they have a question about their mental health isn’t call a doctor. Instead, they Google it.

According to Forbes, Google’s records reveal 5 percent of searches are related to health. So Google is partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illness for a new feature. Within a few days, US-based people who search for topics related to “ depression ” via Google’s search engine will be prompted to take a clinically approved mental health questionnaire called a PHQ-9.

This is a huge step forward, since the Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates only 37 percent of the people suffering from anxiety disorders actually get treatment. Anxiety disorders and depression aren’t the same thing, but they often overlap or have similar symptoms. Around half of the people with clinically diagnosed depression don’t get treatment either. Social stigmas can often be a barrier. Google’s questionnaire won’t replace a real doctor’s diagnosis. However, it could encourage people to recognize symptoms and access local resources.

“Increasing awareness and decreasing stigmas related to seeking and participating in depression treatments is critical to improving the overall mental and physical wellness of all people,” psychotherapist Rita J. Mercante told the New York Post. Manhattan social worker Jill Rubin told the New York Post several of her patients came to her for help after they researched their depression symptoms online. Bringing real clinical resources to the forefront of Google’s search engine could help curious find the right treatment, faster.

Depression is far more common than many might suspect. The National Institute of Mental Health reported almost 7 percent of all American adults had a depressive episode in 2015, plus 12.5 percent of youth ages 12 to 17. Young women and girls are most likely to struggle with depression. Digital media now provides new ways to distribute information, and gather it, for youth and disenfranchised populations that may not have independent access to mental health resources. Google’s search prompt is just the start.

In the past, the social networking site Tumblr -- which is especially popular among LGBTQ youth and teen girls -- starting automatically prompting an “Are you okay?” message and offering mental health resources for users who searched for terms like “suicide.” Facebook Messenger also rolled out a few suicide prevention tools for flagging live streams and reaching out in an emergency. Harvard researcher Andrew G. Reece and Christopher M. Danforth of the University of Vermont even co-authored a study that proved analyzing Instagram posts can help identify undiagnosed cases of clinical depression. Search engines and social media could have a widespread impact on public health.

"Doctors don’t have visibility into our lives the way our mobile phone does," Danforth told Mashable. "It's better if we can get somebody who [might] die by suicide in 2018 in front of a psychologist sooner because there’s something about their social media that made it clear to the machine that they needed help and it wasn’t obvious to the people around them."