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Mental Health Test for Depression

The standard mental health test for depression (at least an indication that depression may be present) is called the PHQ9 test.

PHQ stands for Personal Health Questionnaire and the 9 refers to the number of questions that are used to determine the presence or absence of depression.

It was originally developed by Pfizer (the same organisation that produces the Coronavirus vaccine) but is now freely available for public use due to the copyright having expired.

Technically, the PHQ9 is a self-administered mental health test meaning that the ‘patient’ answers the questions themselves and on the basis of the scoring system, gets an insight into what their reponses might mean.

Each question is answered using one of four options:

  • “Not at all” – 0 points
  • “Several days” – 1 point
  • “More than half the days” – 2 points
  • “Nearly everyday” – 3 points

Using this scoring system, the possible range of values runs from ‘0’ (every question is responded to with “not at all”) all the way through to ’27’ if all questions are answered with “nearly everyday”.

Subjectivity & Objectivity

It is important to be aware that the possible responses are subjective in nature and so the outcome is the result of subjectivity.

Unlike a blood test, which produces a definitive, or objective, result, self-administered tests are only as reliable as the responses that are given. Because of this, the results are NOT definitive, but only serve as an indication.

In fact, there is no objective test available to determine if a person has depression or not. The Bio-medical modelling which claims that depression is related to imbalances in the brain chemistry of sufferers has not be shown to be the cause of depression, only that people who are experiencing depression may show varying levels of serotonin. In this sense, brain chemical imbalances are only an indicator that depression may be present rather than depression is the result of chemical imbalances!

Nevertheless, the PHQ9 mental health test has found its way into the literature as a commonly used tool for indicating the presence of depression and in fact the NHS use this test, in conjunction with another test called the GAD7 test (Generalised Anxiety Disorder Assessment) to determine the effectiveness of its IAPT (Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) services.

PHQ9 Mental Health Test Questions

Answer the following 9 questions acording to the scoring criteria given above and then calculate your overall score:

Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?

  1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
  3. Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
  4. Feeling tired or having little energy?
  5. Poor appetite or overeating?
  6. Feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
  7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
  8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed?
    Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual?
  9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead, or of hurting yourself in some way?

Using the scale below you can determine if you (according to this test) are experiencing depression.

Test Outcomes

Depression Severity: 0-4 none, 5-9 mild, 10-14 moderate, 15-19 moderately severe, 20-27 severe.

Test Validity

Although the test is limited by its subjective design, it has been measured for validity and has been found to be 88% sensitive with a specificity also of 88% when the score is equal to or greater than 10.

What Now?

If you’ve tried out this mental health test and would like to arrange for an initial consultation to discuss the counselling options available at Tranceform, then click the contact button below.

Initial Consultations for Depression

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We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your depression problems prior to commencing any treatment plans.

The consultation is free and last around 50 minutes

Why not drop us an e-mail to find out if we can help before arranging your initial assessment or, if you prefer, leave us a message on our Facebook page: facebook.com/tranceformational/ and we’ll get back to you to arrange a mutual date and time.




During this consultation we will discuss the various options that are available to you and make a considered recommendation based on your individual personal circumstances.

Initial consultations are also available as part of our online therapy service.

At TranceForm Psychology we recognise the importance of the therapeutic relationship in helping people to bring about effective change, so its important to be able to ‘meet’ to discuss our change programmes BEFORE proceeding.

Our policy is to help people make a fully balanced & considered decision about undertaking work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.

For most mental health problems we recommend following our 10 session Tranceformental CBT Programme (an advanced version of empirically established cognitive behavioural therapy) to overcome a wide range of mental health and behavioural problems.

CBT is a proven, evidence-based form of mental health counselling for developing a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of your problem, but also for learning new coping skills and strategies for sustainable change over your life.

The full course costs £795 which you can pay for on our fees page.

Tranceformental CBT is available On-line as well as a one-to-one format in the clinic.

Visit Online Counselling for more details.

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Contact Paul Lee BSc. MSc.

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I specialise in the following areas:

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Psychodynamic Therapy

Call me on 07434 776125

e-mail:

paul@tranceformpsychology.com

Contact Joan Lee D. Hyp.

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I specialise in the following therapies:

Hypnotherapy

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Analytical Therapy

I also offer a complete programme which combines mindfulness, mediation and hypnotherapy-

Complete Wellness Programme

Call Joan on: 07434 776504

e-mail:

joan@tranceformpsychology.com

Want to Find Out More? Then Get in Touch Today.

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