May 28th, 2020
Editor’s note: This post is authored by Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., CEO of The National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Anxiety disorders affect 48 million adults in the U.S. Anxiety presents itself as a wide range of symptoms, and can be a result of biological factors or triggered by a change in environment or exposure to a stressful event. With COVID-19 introducing new points of stress, communities are seeing a rise in mental health issues and needs. New Census Bureau data released last week shows that a third of Americans are now showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization and we’re partnering with Google to provide access to mental health resources. Starting today when people in the U.S. search on Google for information about anxiety, we’ll provide access to a clinically-validated questionnaire called the GAD-7 (Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7). The GAD-7 will show up in the knowledge panel—the box of information that displays key facts when you search for something—and also has medically-validated information about anxiety, including symptoms and common treatments.
This seven-question survey covers many of the same questions a health professional may ask, and your answers are private and secure (Google does not collect or share answers or results from the questionnaire). The GAD-7 helps people understand how their self-reported anxiety symptoms map to anxiety levels of people who completed the same questionnaire. The tool also provides access to resources developed by NAMI so people can learn more and seek help when needed.
The GAD-7 is the third mental health screener available on Google Search. We’ve previously partnered with Google so that people who search for information on depression and PTSD can access relevant clinically-validated questionnaires that provide more information and links to resources about those conditions. The self-assessments are currently available in the U.S., and Google hopes to make them available in additional countries over time.
Anxiety can show up as a wide range of physical and emotional symptoms, and it can take decades for people who first experience symptoms to get treatment. By providing access to authoritative information, and the resources and tools to learn more about anxiety, we hope to empower more people to take action and seek help.