App assesses users’ mental health

    Are you at risk for depression or anxiety? A new app allows people to assess their mental health — and its developers say the tool could be useful to health-care providers and individuals alike.

    The “What’s my M3” app guides users through 27 question related to mood, sleeping and eating habits. Do you have energy, do you feel tense, do you sleep more than usual, and so on. At the end of the test, users get a score, and if the score is high, they get information on specific illnesses they might have, along with instructions to get in touch with a physician or mental health provider.

    Maryland psychiatrist Dr. Steve Davis helped develop the screening tool. He says it can give people an initial assessment of their mental health, and can also be used as a monitoring tool for those in treatment.

    “Let’s say you notice that you don’t feel any better and that, in fact, the score hasn’t changed very much,” Davis said. “That’s good evidence to get a follow up appointment with your doctor, say ‘Look, this is what’s happening’, and that helps them quickly see that a change needs to happen.”

    He is quick to point out that the app does not deliver a diagnosis — even if a person gets a high score for risk factors.

    “You may have a problem with one of the illnesses and you should talk to your doctor about it, this is not a tool to diagnose you,” said Davis. “It really is truly a screening tool to say, ‘Hey, this might be a problem, go look into it further.'”

    Davis says the test is also available online, and primary care physicians could use it as a quick and thorough tool to check their patients’ mental health.

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