See Inside March / April 2010

Are You Mentally Healthy?

Here's a new screening tool that might set your mind at ease—or get you chatting with a therapist

More than one in four Americans suffer from a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at any given time, according to estimates from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Over our lifetime nearly one half of us suffer from such disorders. Unfortunately, nearly two thirds of our behavioral and emotional problems are never diagnosed or treated, even though in many cases effective treatment is available. More than 80 percent of people with major depression, for example, benefit substantially from a combination of medication and counseling.

When I served as editor in chief of Psychology Today, readers often asked me to direct them to screening tests for mental health problems. I looked for such tests on the Internet, which seemed the ideal tool for helping people find answers to questions about their mental health: Is this down feeling I’m experiencing normal? Why do I shout at my wife and kids all the time? Is my drinking out of control? Should I be seeing a therapist? I found the Internet riddled with thousands of homemade tests, but none had been scientifically validated. Worse, many of them served as marketing vehicles for videos, books or services—sending the test taker straight to a sales pitch. No broad, reliable, consumer-friendly test seemed to exist.

This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now!

Select an option below:

Customer Sign In

*You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content

It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on
Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access.

Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Scientific American Mind Digital

Get 6 bi-monthly digital issues
+ 1yr of archive access for just $9.99

Hurry this offer ends soon! >


Email this Article


Next Article