A new online test devised by the NHS can indicate how your mental health has been over the last fortnight.
What is the new test?
Everyone has the occasional mood swing. No one is immune to the occasional bad day or feeling a little on edge. But for some people, low mood can be a persistent issue and a sign of something more serious.
A new ‘mood test’ devised by the National Health Service in the UK can help people better understand how they have been feeling over the last two weeks. The new test can also point users in the right direction for helpful advice and information on mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Around one in six adults in the UK is struggling with depression caused by a combination of the current cost of living crisis, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The test can give indications of depression.
Depression is not just a feeling of unhappiness – which is common and totally normal in us all. Those with the condition can suffer from immense sadness that can last for weeks and even months. Symptoms of depression can include (but are not limited to) low mood and the loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things.
The test asks several questions to determine whether someone is experiencing depression. It asks how low you feel, how well you sleep, how much energy you have, and what your appetite has been like.
Of course, everyone’s experience of the condition is different, as it can manifest itself in various ways. However, depression is often described as a total disconnect from all feelings of happiness and enjoyment.
What else does the test ask?
The test asks whether people have felt worried recently, how often, whether they’ve had trouble relaxing, and if they have been easily irritated. The test ends by giving you a depression and anxiety score and advises you on what to do next – which in some cases will be to book an appointment with your doctor in the first instance.
Your doctor may recommend a combination of lifestyle changes, which may include cutting down on alcohol consumption, eating more healthily, or exercising more frequently. The reduced use of social media can also help, as can the turning off of mobile phone notifications, as My MInd News reported just last week.
Talking therapies might also be suggested, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), and sometimes in the more severe cases presented by patients, antidepressants.
It is not uncommon for both to be prescribed in parallel, using a combination of both to improve the patient’s overall mental health and wellbeing.
What do we think of the test?
The test is quick to complete, simple to understand, and easy to navigate. The results are displayed in an -easy-to-read format and the suggestions made based on your final scores for both depression and anxiety give handy hints via clickable links as to what actions you might take next to get further support and assistance.
While the test is not a self-diagnosis tool and is most certainly not a substitute for seeking medical assistance, it is a helpful starting point if anyone is concerned about how they might be feeling but are unsure about what they should do next, or the range of support that may be available to help.
My Mind News invites you to try the test out and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Remember, in addition to the links provided by the test, you can also consult our ‘Get Help’ page. If you have immediate concerns about yourself or a loved one, you can call advice services like Samaritans for free on 116 123.