Screening Tool for Depression and Anxiety Available via iPhone

October 10, 2011 · Posted in Resources 

My Mood Monitor, a website for mental health screening, has introduced depressioncheck, a free, mobile version of their M-3 Checklist, a scientifically validated screening tool for mood and anxiety disorders that can now be used via Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch.  It can be found in the Itunes App Store.

depression check screenshot

Adapted from the online version, the mobile version provides a short series of questions that measure indicators of mental health.  Developed by a team of mental health practitioners and experts, the checklist takes only three minutes to complete.  It is ideal to fill out in the waiting room prior to an appointment with a general practitioner so the doctor can be made aware of potential problems in the area of mental health. Depressioncheck is appropriate for those 18 years and older and its accuracy was confirmed in an article published in the Annals of Family Medicine in March 2010.

We recommend My Mood Monitor and the new mobile application as simple and reliable screening tools that can assess the presence of unipolar and bipolar mood and anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD.

BNN editor Robert M. Post, MD, one of the creators of the M-3 Checklist, explains that

“The Depressioncheck app is an extremely powerful and efficient way of distributing the M-3 Checklist screen. By going mobile, we can get this research-based screen in the hands of individuals who can take the screen whenever it is convenient for them. When significant symptoms are uncovered, consultation with a physician should be sought so appropriate treatment options can be considered.”

As demonstrated by a 2009 research study at the University of North Carolina Medical School that included 647 patients, the screen has the sensitivity to pick up treatable cases that were missed in many earlier mental health screens, including cases in which individuals suffer from mild but overlapping conditions, such as mixed depression and anxiety. Furthermore, depressioncheck can help distinguish unipolar depression from bipolar depression, and thereby avoid a common cause of mistreatment with potentially serious consequences. The customized report provides risk and severity ratings that may guide the user to an appropriate treatment, whether therapy or medication.

For those in distress and at risk for suicide, depressioncheck provides a direct, one-button link to Mental Health America’s National Suicide Hotline. Interactive applications of this sort, offering users validated medical assessment and feedback in real-time, have the potential to improve the dynamics of healthcare delivery, as patients present rapid and readily interpretable data to healthcare professionals.

A Spanish language edition and a version for the Droid operating system are planned.  Currently anyone can screen themselves and track their M-3 score and responses to treatment on Microsoft HealthVault via My Mood Monitor online.

My Mood Monitor’s development is timely: hospitals, doctors, and patients are shifting to electronic medical record (EMR) systems to document all health care interactions, and the M-3 is the first validated screening tools to use EMR technology developed for mental health care. M-3 Information is independently funded and has not received pharmaceutical industry support.


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