Google's new tool tries to help those fighting depression

Depression often goes undetected, which means it often goes untreated, too. Google is trying to help with a new tool.

If you search "depression" or "clinical depression" on Google, the search engine will draw up a specialized response that includes a questionnaire to check your depression level. It's called the PHQ9, the Patient Health Questionnaire. It's clinically validated to help you figure out your level of depression, and if you should seek further help.

Google partnered with NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness to come up with this tool.

The Executive Director of NAMI Michigan joined us to talk to us more about why this is a good first step.

"It's estimated about 20 percent of the U.S. population will experience depression at some point in their life," Kevin Fischer says.

The physical symptoms of depression can range from physical symptoms, such as weight gain, weight loss or lack of sleep, to mental symptoms such as anxiety or sadness.

"Many people don't think they're living with depression; they think it's a normal part of their life," Fischer says. "Secondly, people are so reluctant to reach out for mental health help."

Sometimes searching your symptoms too much causes more anxiety. Google makes it very clear the PHQ9 test is just a tool to offer some direction.

If you do take the test, or if you're looking for help or more mental health resources, you can find them at NAMI Michigan's website,

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.