Course Content
1. Introduction to Depression
o Definition and Overview o Prevalence and Impact
2. Types of Depression
o Major Depressive Disorder o Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia) o Bipolar Disorder o Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) o Postpartum Depression
3. Signs and Symptoms
o Emotional Symptoms o Behavioral Symptoms o Physical Symptoms
4. Causes and Risk Factors
o Biological Factors o Psychological Factors o Environmental Triggers
5. Diagnosis and Assessment
o Screening Tools and Questionnaires o Professional Assessment and Evaluation
6. Treatment Options
o Psychotherapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy) o Medications (Antidepressants) o Lifestyle Changes and Self-Care
7. Support and Resources
o Support Groups o Hotlines and Helplines o Online Communities and Forums
8. Coping Strategies
o Stress Management Techniques o Healthy Coping Mechanisms o Building Resilience
9. Understanding Suicide Risk
o Warning Signs o Risk Factors o Intervention and Prevention
10. Supporting Loved Ones
o Communication Strategies o Providing Emotional Support o Setting Boundaries and Self-Care
11. Stigma and Mental Health Awareness
o Addressing Stigma o Promoting Mental Health Education o Advocacy and Action
12. Conclusion and Recap
o Key Takeaways o Next Steps for Further Learning and Support
Understanding Depression: The Dark Cloud
About Lesson

Diagnosis and Assessment of Depression

Definition: Diagnosing depression involves a comprehensive assessment of symptoms, functioning, and contributing factors. Screening tools and questionnaires are valuable instruments used by healthcare professionals to aid in the evaluation and diagnosis of depression.

Common Screening Tools and Questionnaires:

  1. Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9): The PHQ-9 is a widely used self-report questionnaire that assesses the presence and severity of depressive symptoms over the past two weeks. It consists of nine items corresponding to the diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD), including mood, anhedonia, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, fatigue, concentration difficulties, psychomotor changes, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, and suicidal ideation.

  2. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI): The BDI is another commonly used self-report measure designed to assess the severity of depression symptoms. It consists of 21 items covering cognitive, affective, and somatic symptoms of depression, such as sadness, guilt, pessimism, loss of interest, and changes in appetite or sleep.

  3. Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D): The HAM-D is a clinician-administered questionnaire used to assess the severity of depression symptoms. It consists of 17 items rated on a scale from 0 to 4, covering mood, anxiety, physical symptoms, and cognitive symptoms of depression.

  4. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS): The GDS is a self-report questionnaire specifically designed to assess depression in older adults. It consists of 15 or 30 items, depending on the version used, covering mood, social withdrawal, and physical symptoms relevant to older adults.

  5. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS): The EPDS is a self-report questionnaire used to screen for postpartum depression in women who have recently given birth. It consists of 10 items assessing mood, anxiety, and emotional well-being during the postpartum period.

Impact: Screening tools and questionnaires provide a standardized and systematic approach to assessing depressive symptoms, facilitating early detection, and appropriate intervention. They help healthcare professionals gather essential information about the nature, severity, and duration of symptoms, guiding treatment decisions and monitoring progress over time.


  1. Which of the following is a widely used self-report questionnaire for assessing depressive symptoms? a) Glasgow Coma Scale b) Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale c) Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) d) Montreal Cognitive Assessment

Answer: c) Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)

Takeaway Assignment: Explore the psychometric properties and clinical utility of different depression screening tools and questionnaires. Compare and contrast the strengths and limitations of each instrument in terms of sensitivity, specificity, reliability, and validity.

Relevant Scenario: Imagine a scenario where a primary care physician uses the PHQ-9 to screen for depression in a patient presenting with symptoms of low mood and fatigue during a routine medical appointment. Based on the patient’s responses, the physician initiates further assessment and discusses treatment options, including medication and therapy.

Case Study: Case Study: David, a 25-year-old college student, completes the PHQ-9 during a counseling intake appointment. He reports experiencing persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and difficulty sleeping. Based on his PHQ-9 score indicating moderate depression, David’s counselor collaborates with him to develop a treatment plan incorporating cognitive-behavioral therapy and lifestyle modifications.

Example: An example of a screening tool for depression may include a primary care physician using the PHQ-9 to assess depressive symptoms in a middle-aged adult presenting with complaints of low mood and decreased energy.

Final Topic Summary: In summary, screening tools and questionnaires are valuable instruments used in the diagnosis and assessment of depression. Instruments such as the PHQ-9, BDI, HAM-D, GDS, and EPDS provide standardized assessments of depressive symptoms, aiding healthcare professionals in early detection, treatment planning, and monitoring of depression.

Online Resources for Further Reading:

  1. Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) Screeners:
  2. Beck Depression Inventory (BDI):
  3. Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D):
  4. Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS):
  5. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS):
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