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Test: New Help for Depression

Test: New Help for Depression


A team led by University College London Professors have developed a test for people at risk from depression.

They modelled it on tests for medical conditions such as heart problems, says Professor King, “where prediction instruments had been designed over several years.” The algorithm was tested on 6,000 people between the ages of 16 and 75 who were attending their General Practitioners, not including anyone already suffering from depression.

“People often think we are medicalising ordinary low mood by making it into a medical condition,” says Professor Michael King, “but in fact, what they don’t realise is that many medical conditions in medicine are the same. There is no way we can measure pain for example, we proceed on the person’s account of it.”

The test measures well-established risk factors for depression such as child abuse, a family history of depression or suicide, personal history of depression, drug and alcohol use, and stresses at home and work.

“When we pulled them all together,” says Professor King, “we found out that the main risk factors were things like past depression, which is always a strong risk factor, family history, experiences of discrimination such as age, or race, or sexual orientation.” There was quite a lot around people having difficulties at work and feeling unsupported.; Source: The British Council

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