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Google Adds Feature that Screens Users for Depression

Google is rolling out a feature that will screen users for depression. People who use certain keywords like “depression”  are given a ‘Knowledge Panel’ alongside their results offering mental health resources. This new feature will also ask them  to ‘tap if you’re clinically depressed.’ If the user checks the box, they will be prompted to take a questionnaire, the PHQ-9, to gauge their mental health and help them determine if they should seek professional help. The PHQ-9 is a commonly used and highly accurate tool in screening individuals for depression. Google’s hopes in making it available are to better inform people about their symptoms...

Indie Video Game Explores Depression, Offers Hope

“I suppose some actions which others would find relaxing might be horribly demanding for you.” The British voiceover of the trailer for Please Knock on My Door pensively delivers this line. On screen, a cube shaped protagonist toddles around a room, fiddling with a computer, then moving back to a couch, then back to the computer. Please Knock on My Door is a soon-to-be-released indie game described as a “choice-driven narrative depression, social anxiety, and general phobias” (McCarthy 2016, p.1). Please Knock is based on the experiences of the creator, Michael Levall, with depression. Said Levall, “Every single thing in the game that you...

Artificial Intelligence Helps Those Considering Mental Health Treatment

In those that struggle with mental health, the largest hurdle is often getting help. From the high costs of treatment to the social stigma that surrounds it, the benefits seem to be, from a distance, outweighed by the obstacles. The integration of technology into mental health treatment aims to reduce those obstacles and clear the path to a healthier standard of living. Mindstrong, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup, is developing an app that will track a user’s physical interactions with their smartphone, for example, their typing habits, and use that data to draw informed conclusions about the user’s mental state. President and co-founder of Mindstrong,...

The Significance Behind the Prevalence of Depression

Depression has started to reveal itself in a startling conglomeration of diverse examples.  While depression diagnoses in cancer patients isn’t uncommon, recent studies have found elevated levels of depression in cancer caregivers. Since the vast majority of Americans have been affected in someway by cancer, whether through individual struggles or experiences with loved-ones, these elevated depression numbers need to be closely observed. After close investigations, depressive symptoms were linked to physical health decline as “caregivers with high depressive symptoms showed twice the rate of physical health decline of caregivers with an average level of depressive symptoms” (Medical Press, 2017). Caregivers often go above and beyond...

Cancer and Mental Health: What We Aren’t Talking About

Cancer. The word itself elicits fear in all who hear it. What is often forgotten about cancer is its effect on mental health. So much time, money and energy is put into treating the physical battle that the other aspects of the patient's health--also affected by cancer--are neglected. A new program at the University of Denver is aiming to help cancer patients with their mental and emotional struggles through the course of their treatment. The Center for Oncology Psychology Excellence (COPE) is a first-of-it’s-kind program to offer specialized cancer counseling to students. Dr. Nicole Taylor, the director of the program, says, “A lot of cancer centers...

Senate Health Care Bill Threatens Coverage of Those With Mental Illness...

Last Thursday, the Senate released the Better Care Reconciliation Act, its proposed replacement to the Affordable Care Act. While the focus of those who oppose the Affordable Care Act has typically been its higher premiums, the focus of its supporters has been how many received coverage when they were otherwise uninsured. The 'otherwise uninsured' primarily consisted of those with pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure or mental illness. Before the Affordable Care Act, someone with a pre-existing condition could be denied coverage or charged more because of their associated “risk.” The Affordable Care Act protected these people and guaranteed them coverage. The Better...