Google tackles mental health with new search updates

Google is providing a clinically certified questionnaire for all users who search for information about anxiety beginning May 28, a feature implemented to help address mental health concerns inflicted by pandemic-related stress.

As communities nationwide are witnessing spikes in mental health issues during the pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau released survey results May 27 revealing that a third of Americans are now experiencing anxiety or depression.

Google partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to display the questionnaire, which is seven questions long. Google will not collect or share users' answers or results, but will show users how their self-reported anxiety levels compare to other respondents' levels.

The questionnaire, which is currently only available to users in the U.S., will also be accompanied by clinically approved information about anxiety symptoms and treatments.

"Anxiety, stress, depression and other mental health issues among [healthcare professionals] may result in increased alcoholism, substance abuse and PTSD. In addition, among other things, quality of care may be affected as poor mental health among HCPs can lead to mistakes on the job," David Feinberg, MD, vice president of Google Health, wrote in a blog post highlighting the new feature's importance for front-line healthcare workers.

This is the third mental health screener Google has made available via its search function. It has previously provided questionnaires and information for users whose searches pertained to PTSD and depression

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