What’s the Idea?
If you think you might be depressed, you can take the NHS online depression test and check your symptoms. It’s confidential and free.
What’s the story
I have had to visit the GP several times in my life with depression (as well as anxiety and suicidal thoughts).
Each time I went, I was given a ‘depression test’ which assessed how severe my symptoms were.
I later found out that this test is available online and so I have used it at regular intervals, to help keep an eye on where I am.
I have also recommended it to friends who didn’t realise they were in the middle of a depressive episode.
Taking the depression test helped them see that something serious was going on, and they were able to seek help.
Please note that an online depression test is NOT a substitute for talking to a professional, and you should contact your GP surgery or dial NHS 111 if you are concerned about your mental health.
People should do this because…?
Taking the NHS depression test could help in a few ways:
- It could confirm you’re not depressed, just feeling a bit down, and put your mind at rest
- It could confirm you are depressed – for me this felt like a relief, and confirmation that I wasn’t ‘going mad’
- If you’re depressed, it will give an indication of how severe the depression is, which can guide you towards help
I am recommending the NHS test because it is robust and clinically tested.
I would recommend avoiding any tests that aren’t backed by a substantial medical organisation or charity, as a poor test might just make you worry more.
How do you do it?
You can find the UK NHS depression test at the link below:
Please note that the test is intended for adults.
If you are a young person and you are concerned about low mood, please visit the Young Minds website.
With the NHS Depression Test, all you have to do is answer the 9 questions in the test as honestly as possible.
You should base your replies on how you have been feeling in the last 2 weeks.
Your results are completely confidential and only you will see them.
What to do if the test says you’re probably not depressed
This is good news! (Although it may not feel like it at the time.)
It suggests that with a bit of self-care and proactive management, your low mood could lift.
Take a look at our Wellbeing category for some ideas:
Of course, if you’re still worried, or your mood continues to decline, you should speak to someone.
Ring your GP surgery or the NHS helpline on 111.
Or if you’re feeling really isolated and lost, The Samaritans is a wonderful organisation which you can ring for free, any time of the day or night:
The Samaritans: 116 123
If you can’t speak privately or don’t want to phone, The Samaritans also accept emails:
What to do if the test says you’re probably depressed
Try not to worry.
The vast majority of people recover from depression, with or without treatment.
However, you should take some steps to manage your mental health, now you have a clearer picture of what is going on.
The fact that you took a depression test demonstrates you are capable of taking positive action, and it is perfectly acceptable to put your wellbeing first for the next little while (in fact, it’s desirable).
For me personally, I always found it helpful to tell close friends and family when I was going through a period of depression.
That way people could understand why I was behaving differently, and give me space or support, depending on what was needed at the time.
I did this even on my umpteenth time of being depressed!
Depression is a condition that reoccurs – that doesn’t mean it isn’t valid every time.
So whether it’s your 1st time of being depressed or your 100th time, I really recommend telling people in your immediate circle and seeking their support.
I also let myself off the hook if I found I couldn’t meet my obligations (work, study, friends, housework, etc!)
Some days I didn’t get out of bed but I didn’t beat myself up about it.
During really bad episodes I tried to make sure I got out of bed at least every other day, to make some (healthy) food, or have a shower.
When you are clinically depressed, something like making & eating a sandwich can be a huge achievement – this shouldn’t be under-estimated!
During times of depression I take it easy and make time for self-care (like taking long baths), and low-effort, distracting activities (like catching up on box-sets).
Even if I don’t really feel like it to begin with, I find these kind of activities start to help me feel a little better.
If my symptoms are more severe, or I feel really unable to cope, I seek professional help, either via my GP, a counsellor, or a mental health charity, like The Samaritans.
- NHS 111
- The Samaritans: 116 123
The most important thing is to not ignore the results of the depression test.
Depression can spiral out of hand quickly but is very treatable if you take positive action.
Stuff you may need
- Laptop, tablet, or smartphone
- Wifi / access to the internet