NCCN announces free online updated distress screening tool. The new tool can help identify people with depression based on responses from a web-based questionnaire.Since its launch late last year, the stress screening survey used by millions of patients to assess for depressive symptoms has been designed to gather data on daily experiences and the potential for distress, as well as specific questions designed to measure the severity of those experiences.
The latest version adds an expanded focus to include items that indicate social, financial or work-related stress, and is able to better gauge emotional and other impacts on patient well-being (e.g., “difficulty concentrating”).
Also, this study has now assessed emotional expressions (for example, using words like “sad”, or the expression “I don’t want to go home right now”) or sleep patterns and quality, which can often precede mental health diagnoses. This allows clinicians to consider all of these issues when diagnosing depression to make sure other factors — including emotional reactions and how much sleep you get — may not contribute to causing the condition.
The prevalence of Depression Among Adults in China: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Data from Randomized Trials
A systematic review that was published in 2019 looked at depression rates in adults across China over the past decade. It found that, while there is “some evidence of widespread depression in China,” data from randomized controlled trials is limited, so it wasn’t possible to determine if depression is prevalent in the country.
Using the updated NCCN tool, researchers can now assess for depression regardless of whether someone lives in China. One goal is to have a screening tool to inform clinical care in countries with high prevalence of depression, such as China.
“This tool simplifies depression screening by helping providers identify those who are at risk of more severe depression, and helps them provide effective treatments at early stages.
Having access to this new tool can increase access to care for individuals with depression, which is important because China represents one of the largest contributors to global depression and suicide.We also hope to accelerate efforts to identify treatment options for adults living with depression,” said Wui Shen, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President Medical Director (EMC), Primary Care Division, National Center for Comorb for Disease Control and Prevention (NCC).
“In our experience, having the ability to identify those who are most likely to develop depression is helpful for those living with the condition, but without proper testing, depression screening remains incomplete. With the use of this tool, we hope to build awareness about the key concepts of depression and have it become part of our standard routine. And with continued support from key stakeholders, in particular our peers working to diagnose depression, we hope to eventually have this tool become a routine clinical practice across China.”
The updated tool includes several items to screen for depression in adults who have lived with the condition, such as the amount of time spent on their phones or doing mindless activities, and whether they feel depressed for a long period (e.g., every day, 3 times in the first week, etc.). Those who want to take advantage of this tool can sign up here for updates.
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