Screening improves the chances of getting treatment. Primary care physicians providing usual care miss 30% to 50% of depressed patients and likely fail to recognize many common mental health disorders. However, when results from a positive screening are included in the chart, doctors were over 3 times more likely to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and to plan to follow-up with people about their mental health concerns.1-3
MHA provides individuals with free, anonymous, and confidential screening tools that allow people to explore their mental health concerns and bring results to a provider through our MHA Screening program (at www.mhascreening.org). The site hosts scientifically validated screening tools commonly used by mental health and primary health practitioners. MHA Screening started with just four screens: depression, anxiety, bipolar, and PTSD. Over time we added screens for substance and alcohol use, youth and parents, and psychosis. In 2017, we launched Spanish language screens for depression and anxiety and an eating disorder screen.
As part of our program, we asked users to share voluntary demographic data. The analysis of screening results has assisted in the development of public education campaigns, needs assessments, and program development to better meet the needs of individuals, families and communities seeking supports online.
The screening most often taken by users online has been the depression screen (the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 or PHQ-9). Today, an average of 2,700 individuals come online to take a screen per day, and about 50 percent of those screens are depression screens. This report includes analysis of our state level data from our depression screens from May 2014 through December 2016 and demographic data analysis from 2016.