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The University of Connecticut Health Center reported that online depression screening is very effective. Over half of the participants that had been screened sought professional assistance for their depression within 3 months of the time of the screening. Nearly one- third of these individuals had never sought professional help for depression in the past. It is unlikely that these patients would have sought treatment had they not taken the online depression screening. Online depression screening makes general depression symptom screening available to the public at large. Seeing a psychiatrist or mental health counselor can be a costly and time consuming endeavor. Not all people are going to be driven to be professionally screened without some reason to believe that they may, in fact, be suffering from depression. Providing individuals the opportunity to screen themselves for depression online makes it easy on the budget and schedule to see if pursuing treatment for depression is worthwhile. According to Dr. Ivan's Depression Central, many patients that suffer from depression often feel as though they are not truly depressed and are simply exaggerating their problems. They frequently feel as though they are incapable of successfully navigating life's issues, and that this is the cause of their feelings. An online depression screening is an unbiased way for a patient to see that that is not the case; depression is a real disorder that they may, in fact, be suffering from. It lets people know that it is okay to pursue treatment for their depression. It is a means of permission to seek out assistance from a mental health professional in a world where depression still carries a negative stigma.Online depression screenings are very effective at motivating people to make an appointment with a mental health professional. Since only a trained mental health professional can provide adequate care and treatment for a patient suffering from depression, the online depression screening does its job by encouraging patients to seek treatment. As with any other online test, online depression screenings are far from perfect. They do not truly depict the severity of all cases of depression. This is partially due to the fact that the computer is not able to ask further questions of the patient, nor is it able to rationalize the meanings of the responses of the patient. Furthermore, an online depression screening is not capable of differentiating clinical depression from dysthymia. Additionally, online depression screenings are not able to determine if the patient understands the questions and is answering honestly. This is why online depression screenings should only be used as a tool.
It is always the responsibility of a patient to seek professional assistance from a psychiatrist or mental health counselor. These mental health professionals can speak with the patient in depth and make a true diagnosis to determine if the patient is truly suffering from depression.
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