The PHQ-9: Know Your Score
As the month of November 2016 draws to a close, we at Express Vinci® believe that most Vincentians are holding their psychological breaths with the hope that they can exhale deeply come December 1st, that should signal the beginning of the dry season. This is not an absolute, as we were taught in December 2013, but still it is good to remain hopeful.
It is likely that November 2016 will be remembered as one of the most regrettable months in our nation’s modern history. There is no need to recount any of the tragic incidences, as they remain fresh in our collective memory. They have increased our stress levels, whether we know it or not, and put strain on our mental and physical resources, leaving us at risk for conditions like Acute Stress Disorder (ASD), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Depression.
These serious mental health conditions are related. So we want to share with you a simple screen used to detect symptoms of Depression. It is widely used by professionals but can also be done in the comfort of your home. We also take this opportunity to extend condolences to those who have suffered loss over this time.
The Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)
|Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?
(Use “✔” to indicate your answer)
|Not At All||Several Days||More Than Half The Days||Nearly Every Day|
|1. Little interest or pleasure in doing things||0||1||2||3|
|2. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless||0||1||2||3|
|3. Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much||0||1||2||3|
|4. Feeling tired or having little energy||0||1||2||3|
|5. Poor appetite or overeating||0||1||2||3|
|6. Feeling bad about yourself — or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down||0||1||2||3|
|7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television||0||1||2||3|
|8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite — being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual||0||1||2||3|
|9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way||0||1||2||3|
If you checked off any problems, how difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people?
Not difficult at all Somewhat difficult Very difficult Extremely difficult
The maximum score is 27. The higher the score the more severe are the symptoms of depression. Speak to your health care provider if you score more than 5 on this questionnaire, or if you score 1 or above on question number 9.
Send us your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our Facebook page if you have any comments or concerns after reading this article.
The PHQ-9 was developed by Drs. Robert L. Spitzer, Janet B. W. Williams, Kurt Kroenke and colleagues, with an educational grant from Pfizer Inc. No permission required to reproduce, translate, display or distribute it. It is easily available online.
Photo by Express Vinci® shows the bleak skyline in the early afternoon of Tuesday 29th November 2016, from Fairhall, St. Vincent.