This has been a hell of a year, and you’re not alone if you’ve found pandemic life has affected your mood. But are you suffering from a mild case of lockdown blues, or do you have depression that could benefit from seeing a professional? A depression screening could help.
Every year, the Calgary Counseling Centre recognises a National Depression Screening Day (this year it’s October 8) with a free online questionnaire.
Based on your answers, you’ll get a result of either “not recommended for further evaluation,” “recommended for further evaluation,” or “strongly recommended for further evaluation.” In other words, it can’t tell you for sure whether you have clinical depression, but it can give you a recommendation about whether you would benefit from seeking help.
Responses to the questionnaire are anonymous and confidential, which also means that nobody is going to reach out to you afterward. You get your results for your own information, and you can provide answers to some extra questions to help the researchers understand a few things about who they’re reaching and how scores on the test relate to other things in your life.
For example, last year’s test found that people who got Canada’s recommended amount of exercise tended to have lower (better) scores, and that scores were lowest among people who got seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep and exercise both tend to help improve mental health, but mental health difficulties can also make it hard to get enough exercise and sleep.
This year’s screening test includes a question about whether your depression symptoms seemed to be worse during lockdown than they were before. Your answer here doesn’t count toward your score — depression is depression, no matter when you experience it — but it may help the people behind the survey to understand how lockdown has affected our mental health. The screening is at test4depression.com, and regardless of your score you’ll get a self-care toolkit at the end with tips on different ways to support your mental health.