A variety of instruments—some simple, some more detailed—are available to help clinicians screen for mental health disorders. Some of the most common include:
Explore This IssueApril 2014
- Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II) and Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). These tools are validated for use in patients aged 13 to 80. The tests take about five minutes. Patients can fill it them out privately, or a trained administrator can ask the questions verbally.
- Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). These public domain tools assess patients’ moods by asking them how many times in the past few weeks they’ve been bothered by certain problems, such as “feeling down, depressed, or helpless” and “feeling bad about yourself.” PHQ-2 has just two questions; PHQ-9 has nine.
- Distress Thermometer. Developed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, the Distress Thermometer asks patients to indicate their distress level on a visual representation of a thermometer. It also asks simple yes/no questions about patients’ functioning. The Distress Thermometer doesn’t specifically screen for anxiety or depression but can be a useful tool for patients who shy away from words like “depression” or “anxiety.”
- Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). This “hospital” scale can be used in outpatient settings as well. It screens for both anxiety and depression by looking at patient responses to 14 simple statements, including “I feel tense or wound up,” and “I look forward with enjoyment to things.”