Depression and substance abuse impact many people and are treated using expert guidance from primary care providers. Screening tools may be useful in these settings to better assist providers with understanding the warning signs of depression and the most common symptoms that are likely among this patient population. Screening tools may be useful in properly diagnosing these conditions and in offering the resources that are necessary to promote effective outcomes for patients who struggle with these difficult diseases.

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Screening tools for depression are strongly recommended to ensure that proper diagnosis and treatments are timely and effective in alleviating the symptoms of the disease to improve the lives of patients (Siu et al., 2016). For instance, patients who may be at risk of depression should be evaluated using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) to determine if they have symptoms and the treatment options that are most appropriate (Torous et al., 2015). The PHQ-9 is useful because it can be used in mobile formats and is designed to capture symptoms of depression that have occurred over 2-week period to improve diagnostic and treatment resources for patients (Torous et al., 2015). This screening tool offers a positive first line of defense in evaluating patients with depression and in determining the best possible approaches to treat patients that will lead to improvements in mood and symptoms (Mitchell, Yadegarfar, Gill, & Stubbs, 2016).

Depression is a very serious mental health disorder which can disrupt quality of life and wellbeing. Screening tools are necessary at the primary care level to identify patients with depressive symptoms and to treat them in a timely manner to promote symptom relief. It is important for primary care providers to consider the options that are available in monitoring depression in patients and promoting effective outcomes that will improve mood and overall health for patients.