PHQ-9 Depression Test

The standard mental health test for depression (at least an indication that feelings of depression may be present) is called the PHQ-9 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 produced one of the first Coronavirus vaccines) but is now freely available for public use due to the copyright having expired.

Technically, the PHQ-9 is a self-administered depression test meaning that the ‘patient’ answers the questions themselves and on the basis of the scoring system, gets an insight into what their responses might mean.

sepia coloured image of man with depression in the rain in bleak field

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 never been scientifically established and remains, even after 30 years of intensive research, theoretical only.

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 (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) services.

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 of 88% when the score is equal to or greater than 10.

Take the PHQ-9 Test here

Try the PHQ-9 test here.

This link takes you to the Psychology Tools website in a new window.

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Free Initial Consultations for Depression Problems

If your test indicates that you are experiencing the thoughts and behaviours associated with depression then why not arrange to come in for a chat with us about it.

We offer all prospective clients an initial consultation to discuss your depression-related mental health problems prior to commencing any counselling.

The consultation is free and lasts around 50 minutes.

During this consultation we will discuss the various types of psychological therapy 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 counselling service.

At Tranceform Psychology we emphasise the importance of the therapy 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 mental health work with us, including both the financial and personal implications.


Overcome Your Problems with our CBT Course

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is clinically proven to be effective across a range of different mental health problems.

Using our online learning platform, it is available with 2, 5 or 10 sessions of clinical support either face-to-face in the Wombourne offices, or using Zoom video facilities.

It can also be taken as a self help CBT course that will teach you the fundamental tools and techniques used throughout the mental health profession.