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Depression screening questions

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Case identification and recognition

  • NICE advice that clinicians should be alert to possible depression (particularly in people with a past history of depression or a chronic physical health problem with associated functional impairment) and consider asking people who may have depression two questions, specifically:
    • during the last month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
    • during the last month, have you often been bothered by having little interest or pleasure in doing things?

  • if the person answers 'yes' to either question
    • a practitioner who is competent in mental health assessment should:
      • review the person's mental state and associated functional, interpersonal and social difficulties
      • consider using a validated measure for symptoms, functions and/or disability
    • a practitioner who is not competent in mental health assessment should:
      • refer the person to an appropriate professional - if this is not the person's GP, inform the GP

  • when assessing a person with suspected depression, consider using a validated measure (for example, for symptoms, functions and/or disability) to inform and evaluate treatment

  • for people with significant language or communication difficulties, for example people with sensory impairments or a learning disability, consider using the Distress Thermometer and/or asking a family member or carer about the person's symptoms to identify possible depression. If a significant level of distress is identified, investigate further


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