KEY POINTS

  • COVID-19 pandemic is pushing the world into a mental health crisis
  • There is a surge in the number of anxiety and depression cases reported in the U.S. 
  • Thanks to Google’s new tool, people can now start taking care of their mental wellness

As the nation fights the coronavirus pandemic, Google is offering a clinically certified questionnaire for those who are searching for information pertaining to anxiety. The new feature launched by the internet giant can be a novel tool to help address mental health concerns inflicted by the pandemic.

Beginning May 28, users in the U.S. now have access to clinically approved information about symptoms and treatment options alongside a clinically certified self-assessment, reported Becker’s Hospital Review.

Partnering with the National Alliance on Mental Illnesses, Google now displays the questionnaire with 7 questions. Though the tool won't be collecting or sharing the users’ results or answers, it will let people know how their self-reported anxiety levels compare to other respondents.

"Anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health issues among healthcare professionals (HCPs) may result in increased alcoholism, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, among other things, quality of care may be affected as poor mental health among HCPs can lead to mistakes on the job," Becker’s Hospital Review quoted David Feinberg, MD, vice president of Google Health.

This is not the first time that Google has included and implemented such new features to help address the mental health concerns of people. Previously, Google included two questionnaires for people whose searches pertained to depression and PTSD.

“As a trained psychiatrist, I know first-hand the importance of bringing out into the open the issue of mental health. While it might be years between the first onset of symptoms and someone seeking help, the internet is often the first place people turn to find out more about mental disorders,” said Dr. David Feinberg, vice president of Google Health, in a blog post published earlier this month.

36% of respondents felt COVID-19 was seriously impacting their mental health, reported a survey released by the American Psychiatric Association in March.

Google’s anxiety self-assessment tool warns that the tool is meant only for informational purposes and that it is not a medical diagnosis. It also assures the users that the responses will be maintained confidentially.

And at the end of the survey, the tool also provides resources for more information and help for anxiety alongside a link to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Google Search Share Slides While Google still maintains the lead as top search engine, its market share is slowly being chipped away at by Bing and Yahoo. Photo: Reuters