Valuable tools to screen for depression, anxiety, and stress

Published on July 9, 2020

Depression screening

As we enter another week of the COVID-19 pandemic, our template directory has become a valuable toolbox for practitioners looking for ways to help their clients. Calculated forms, in particular, are tools mental health professionals can use to monitor how their clients are coping and help them spot problems before they get worse. 

Monitoring clients for increased depression, anxiety, and stress is more important now than ever.

According to a national poll released in March by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

  • Nearly half of Americans (48%) are anxious about the possibility of getting coronavirus, COVID-19
  • 40% are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus
  • 62% are anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus
  • 36% say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health
  • 59% feel coronavirus is having a serious impact on their day-to-day lives 
  • 57% are concerned that the coronavirus will have a serious negative impact on their finances 
  • 68% fear that the coronavirus will have a long-lasting impact on the economy

A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress in the US registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Roughly 20,000 people texted the hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Screenings for depression, anxiety, stress, and other disorders can help 

The pandemic is taking its toll, as is the civic unrest and chronic uncertainty. 

One way of maintaining your clients’ mental health, as well as your own, is by spotting vulnerabilities early.

Screenings are inexpensive, readily available tools that can help you spot mental health issues in your clients early enough to intervene with therapies. These usually self-reported questionnaires provide a useful snapshot of a client’s current condition by screening for everything from depression and anxiety to alcohol-use disorders and stress.

We offer several screenings as calculated web forms

Since we launched Hush Secure Forms two years ago, we’ve looked at various mental health screenings and selected those we felt would be most useful to our customers as calculated web forms. These digital versions of the original screenings can be filled out online and deliver a score upon completion to the practitioner.  

The forms are available to all Hushmail for Healthcare customers, subject to the limits of their plan. Just go to your form builder, select Create form, choose Healthcare from the left menu, and you’ll find the calculated forms among our other templates. 

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)

The PHQ-9 is a self-reporting tool that screens for symptoms of depression. 

The form starts with the question, "Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems?" The questionnaire then goes on to list nine scenarios with the option to respond according to the level each scenario affects the respondent's life.

Try out the PHQ-9 template

Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7)

The GAD-7 is a self-assessment tool that can be used to screen for, diagnose, and assess the severity of generalized anxiety disorder. 

It’s made up of seven stated problems, such as - feeling anxious, nervous, or on edge. The person taking the assessment chooses one of four responses to each problem according to how often that condition is experienced - not at all, several days, more than half the days, nearly every day.

A final question assesses the effect of these problems on quality of life.

Try out the GAD-7 template

Depression, Anxiety, Stress Scales (DASS) 

The DASS is a 42-item questionnaire designed to measure the severity of three related emotional states: depression, anxiety, and stress. The DASS-21 is a shorter version of the full screening consisting of 21 items. We offer both in our directory. 

While the full DASS might give slightly more reliable results and be preferable for clinical work, the DASS-21 takes half the time and is considered preferable for research.

Try out the DASS template

Try out the DASS-21 template 

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Monitoring clients for increased depression, anxiety, and stress is more important now than ever. Screenings are inexpensive, readily available tools that can help you spot mental health issues in your clients before they get out of control. We’ve looked at various mental health screenings and selected those we felt would be most useful to our customers as calculated web forms. These digital versions of the original screenings can be filled out online and deliver a score upon completion to the practitioner.  

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