Am I Depressed? Taking an NHS Depression Test

Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The symptoms can range from mild to severe and have a significant impact on daily life. Recognizing the signs of depression early is crucial for getting effective treatment. The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK provides a simple online depression test that can help determine if you may be experiencing depression. Taking this test can be an important first step in reaching out for support.

What is Depression?

Depression is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. Other common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

While we all feel sad or down from time to time, clinical depression persists for weeks or months and impairs daily functioning. There are different types of depressive disorders that can vary in severity. Without treatment, the symptoms usually do not go away on their own.

Risk Factors for Depression

Certain factors can increase the risk of developing depression. These include:

  • Family history of depression
  • Major life changes such as divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one
  • Physical or mental abuse
  • Loneliness and social isolation
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic illness such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s
  • Use of certain medications such as steroids

When to Take a Depression Test

If you’ve been experiencing any of the depression symptoms nearly every day for at least two weeks, it’s a good idea to take a depression screening. The NHS depression test is quick and straightforward. It can help you determine if seeing a doctor or mental health professional for a full evaluation is the next right step.

Some reasons you may want to take a depression test include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness or irritability
  • Withdrawal from regular social activities
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling agitated or sluggish
  • Feeling worthless or having excessive guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death and suicide

Listening to your body and emotions is key. If your symptoms are impacting your ability to function in school, work, or relationships, it’s very important to reach out for help.

Taking the NHS Depression Test

The NHS depression screening is a simple, clinically-validated tool that looks at your recent mood to determine if depression could be present. It consists of a series of multiple choice questions and takes just 2 to 5 minutes to complete.

The test asks if, over the last 2 weeks, you have been:

  • Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
  • Having little interest or pleasure in doing things

It also asks about:

  • Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or having little energy
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Feeling bad about yourself or feeling worthless
  • Moving or speaking slowly or being fidgety and restless
  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself

Scoring is based on the frequency and duration of symptoms. At the end of the test, you get results indicating whether or not depression could be an issue for you.

The NHS depression screening is completely confidential and anonymous. You can take the test on their website without needing an account. The results should give you a good idea of whether seeking further evaluation and treatment from your doctor is recommended.

Seeking Treatment for Depression

If your NHS depression test results indicate you could be experiencing major depression, the most important next step is making an appointment with your general practitioner.

Some treatment options for depression include:

  • Medications – Antidepressants like SSRIs and SNRIs can help regulate brain chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine to relieve symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy – Also called talk therapy, this involves speaking with a therapist to identify thought and behavior patterns contributing to your depression. Common types of therapy used are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy.
  • Brain stimulation therapies – Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) passes small electric currents through the brain to alter moods. Repetitive TMS magnetically stimulates parts of the brain.
  • Lifestyle changes – Improving sleep habits, diet, exercise, and social connection can alleviate symptoms without medication. Practicing mindfulness meditation is also beneficial.

The right treatment depends on the severity of your depression and your personal preferences. Your doctor can make personalized recommendations based on your health history and symptoms. Oftentimes a combination of medication and therapy provides the most complete relief.

Living with Depression

If you are diagnosed with depression, remember that you are not alone. Depression is a widely prevalent condition worldwide. Millions of people are living with depression and managing it effectively with professional treatment.

Here are some tips that can help if you are coping with the challenges of depression:

  • Stay connected – Isolation makes depression worse. Spend time with supportive friends and family who lift your mood. Joining a support group can also be very helpful.
  • Practice self-care – Do activities you enjoy like gentle exercise, listening to music, or spending time in nature. Be kind to yourself on bad days.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs – While alcohol may seem temporarily soothing, it’s actually a depressant that can make symptoms worse.
  • Follow treatment plans – Take medications as directed and attend therapy sessions consistently to get the most benefit. Tracking your moods can help identify triggers.
  • Ask for help when needed – Don’t be afraid to reach out for extra support from loved ones and professionals if your symptoms worsen. There are also crisis lines for urgent situations.

Living with depression can be extremely difficult at times. But with the appropriate treatment plan and a strong support system, most people are able to manage their symptoms, regain their enjoyment of life, and feel hopeful about the future. Taking the first step to identify depression through an assessment like the NHS test can lead the way towards recovery.


If persistent feelings of sadness, fatigue, lack of motivation, or thoughts of suicide have been interfering with your life, don’t wait to take action. The NHS provides a fast, free depression screening test online that can help determine if you may be experiencing major depression and need follow-up care. Getting evaluated and treated early is crucial for managing symptoms and improving your quality of life. There are many effective treatments available, but the journey starts with checking in with yourself. Take the time to take a mental health screening. Your emotional well-being is too important.

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