Top 2024 List of Anxiety Screeners & Depression Tools for Various Disorders

Best 2024 Guide: What Are the Best Screening Tools for Depression and Anxiety?


Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Panic Disorder… these are all examples of mental health issues classified under either depression or anxiety.

In 2020, the onset year of the global pandemic, it’s estimated that global rates of major depressive disorder jumped by 28% and anxiety disorders increased by 26%. These two prevalent mental health conditions continue to be a major concern among primary care physicians, mental health professionals, social workers, and others.

To aid in the diagnosis and treatment of these mental health disorders, clinicians use various anxiety assessment tools and depression screening tools. Screeners like the PHQ9 tool and GAD 7 tool can increase the rate of detection for depression and anxiety because they’re quick and easy surveys that can be self-administered.

screening tools for anxiety and depression

Depression and GAD Tools to Assess Mental Disorders

Some anxiety and depression screening tools are general and are used to identify whether further assessment might be needed to uncover a more specific diagnosis. Others are specialized and targeted to a specific disorder, such as an OCD screening tool or a postpartum depression screening tool.

In this article on anxiety screeners and depression tools, we’ll identify both types of screeners – general and targeted – and give an overview of several of these screening tools for anxiety and depression.

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Table of Contents: Depression Screening Questions

Keep on scrolling down this page to read each section or click any link below to go directly to that section.

  1. What Are Mental Health Screening Tools?
  2. What Are the Best Anxiety Screeners?
    1. GAD Screener Tool (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)
    2. OCD Screening Tool
    3. Social Anxiety Screening Tool
    4. Panic Disorder Screening Tool
    5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Tool
    6. Pediatric Anxiety Screening Tool
  3. What Are the Best Depression Assessment Tool Screeners?
    1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Screener
    2. Postpartum Depression Screening Tool
    3. Bipolar Depression Screening Tool
    4. Psychotic Depression Screening Tool
    5. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Screening Tool
    6. Pediatric Depression Screening Tool
  4. Both Depression and Anxiety Assessment Tool
  5. Conclusion | Top Depression & Anxiety Screeners
  6. FAQ | Anxiety & Depression Screening Tool

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What Are Mental Health Screening Tools?

Mental health screening tools are used for the early identification of a potential mental health issue. Tools like anxiety screeners, substance abuse surveys, and depression assessment tool questionnaires help health and mental health care providers identify symptoms that may need treatment in an individual.

Just as there are regular physical health screenings for things like high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease, many mental health organizations feel that regular mental health screenings for things like depression and anxiety should also become commonplace.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), early identification and treatment of mental health conditions lead to better outcomes.

Screening tools for depression and anxiety typically consist of a set of questions about symptoms and the individual indicates how often they’ve experienced the symptom.

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Do you have any questions about depression and anxiety assessment tools or the SCARED screening tool? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

What Are the Best Anxiety Screeners?

Anxiety is a constant and ongoing feeling of worry or being on edge. Feelings of anxiety can cause physical symptoms and severely interfere with a person’s ability to function as they would normally.

Several different disorders are under the umbrella of anxiety. These include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Below is a list of some of the most popular anxiety screening tool options used to detect different types of anxiety disorders.

GAD Screener Tool (Generalized Anxiety Disorder)

GAD tools are designed to detect generalized anxiety, which is characterized by an uncontrollable state of constant worrying, excessive stress, and inability to concentrate.

  • GAD-2 Assessment: The Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2 (GAD-2) GAD tool is a two-question rapid screener designed to be used in busy settings. If the total score is three or higher on this GAD assessment tool, it’s recommended to proceed with the GAD 7 tool.
  • GAD-7 Tool: This GAD screening tool has seven questions related to anxiety. The first two questions that are on the GAD-7 make up the GAD-2 assessment. The respondent indicates how often they have experienced each of the seven symptoms listed within the “last 2 weeks.”
  • Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A): This GAD screening tool has 14 questions, each being a symptom of anxiety. It includes both mental and physical symptoms. The HAM-A is one of the GAD assessment tools that ask the respondent to indicate the level of severity of each symptom.

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Do you have any questions about a screening tool for generalized anxiety disorder or where to find anxiety assessment tools PDF downloads? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

OCD Screening Tool

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by the inability to stop doing time-consuming, repetitive, and unnecessary tasks. Those affected, feel driven to these behaviors due to anxiety about what will happen if they don’t do them.

  • Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS): This screening tool for OCD has 10 questions. The first five questions ask about obsessive thoughts and the other five questions in this OCD screening tool ask about obsessive behaviors.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Inventory–Revised (OCI-R): This self-rating screening tool for OCD has 18 questions that relate to symptoms of OCD. For each question, the individual will answer how often they’ve been bothered by this issue in the last month.

Social Anxiety Screening Tool

Social anxiety is also known as social phobia. Individuals with this disorder get distressed and feel anxious in social situations. This can interfere with their ability to function at work and in their daily lives.

  • Brief Social Phobia Scale (BSPS): This is one of the social anxiety assessment tools that has a 5-point rating scale to rate the 11 items.
  • Social Phobia Inventory (SPIN): This social anxiety screening tool has 17 items and for each of the items, the individual will indicate how often over the past week they’ve experienced the issue.

Panic Disorder Screening Tool

Panic disorder results in an acute episode where a person has a sudden feeling of anxiety and fear. Physical symptoms include increased heart rate, trembling, a choking feeling, fear that you are dying, and more.

  • Panic Disorder Severity Scale (PDSS): This seven-item panic screener is one of the panic disorder assessment tools that can be given to adolescents (13+) and adults. It can also be used to track symptoms over time.
  • Panic Disorder Screener (PADIS): This is one of the newer panic disorder assessment tools. It’s a rapid screener with just four questions and can identify signs and severity of panic disorder.

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Do you have any questions about an OCD screening tool, social anxiety assessment tools, or a panic disorder screening tool? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Tool

PTDS is a disorder that originates from experiencing a traumatic event. It’s often associated with those that have served in war zones but can include any type of traumatic event. It triggers an intense re-experiencing of those events.

  • SPAN: The acronym SPAM stands for Startle, Physiological Arousal, Anger, and Numbing. This is a 4-item PTSD screening tool that was originally derived from the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), which has 17 questions.
  • Primary Care PTSD Screen for DSM-5 (PC-PTSD-5): This screener for PTSD was developed for use in primary care settings to help clinicians identify individuals with a probability of PTSD. It’s a 5-item PTSD anxiety screener.

Pediatric Anxiety Screening Tool

Anxiety assessment tools for youth are developed slightly differently than anxiety screening tools for adults so that they’ll be easily understandable. These anxiety disorder assessment tools for children often have sections for children to fill out and for parents to fill out.

  • SCARED Screening Tool: The Screen for Child Anxiety Related Disorders (SCARED) has a child version and a parent version. The SCARED assessment tool includes three options for how often a particular symptom of anxiety has been experienced.
  • Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS): Pars is a generalized anxiety disorder screening tool for children and adolescents. It is filled out by the clinician and consists of 50 anxiety symptoms that include SAD, Social Phobia, and GAD.

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Do you have any questions about a pediatric anxiety screening tool or anxiety assessment tools for youth? If so, contact the Social Work Portal Team.

What Are the Best Depression Assessment Tool Screeners?

Depression can have symptoms of sadness, hopelessness, and feeling anxious or worthless. Physical symptoms can include difficulty thinking and problems with sleep. Clinical depression is typically indicated when symptoms last for over two weeks and won’t go away.

Some of the main disorders associated with depression are:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Bipolar Depression
  • Psychotic Depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Below is a list of some of the most popular depression diagnostic tool options used to detect different types of depression-related disorders.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) Screener

MDD is characterized by symptoms of depression that last longer than two weeks and that interfere with everyday life.

  • Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2): This PHQ assessment tool has just two questions and is a rapid depression assessment tool. It can be used quickly in primary care or emergency room settings to identify potential depression.
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9): The PHQ 9 screening tool includes nine questions about the frequency of depression-related symptoms. The PHQ 9 assessment tool is often used after a PHQ-2 assessment indicates depression symptoms.
  • Beck Depression Inventory (BDI): The BDI depression assessment tool is a 21-question assessment that is self-administered. The depression test score is based on a scoring of 0-3 per question.

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Do you have any questions about the depression tools described above? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.

Postpartum Depression Screening Tool

Postpartum depression is a condition of extreme depression in a mother after giving birth to a baby. This condition can also include peripartum depression, beginning before the baby is born.

  • Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS): In this 10-question postpartum depression screening tool the respondent indicates how often in the past seven days they’ve experienced the listed symptoms of postpartum depression.

Bipolar Depression Screening Tool

Bipolar depression is characterized by manic periods of very low mood and very high energy. Depressive symptoms occur during the lows.

  • Bipolar Depression Rating Scale (BDRS): This is a bipolar depression diagnostic tool that is administered by a clinician. It includes 20 items, and for each, the severity of the symptoms is noted.
  • Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ): The MDQ is a depression screening tool for bipolar disorder that is self-administered. Most of the questions are Yes/No as to whether the person has experienced the listed symptoms.

Psychotic Depression Screening Tool

Psychotic depression is characterized by severe depressive symptoms that are accompanied by hallucinations or delusions. The individual may be able to “see,” “hear,” or “feel” things that are not there.

  • Psychotic Depression Assessment Scale (PDAS): This psychotic depression diagnostic tool includes 11 items that cover a variety of disorder symptoms. The PDAS leverages the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAM-D) and Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) questionnaires.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Screening Tool

Seasonal Affective Disorder is characterized by bouts of major depression that recur at a specific time of the year. SAD is usually associated with the winter months.

  • Seasonal Pattern Assessment Questionnaire (SPAQ): This is a self-administered screening tool. The SPAQ depression assessment tool has six items used to evaluate the presence of SAD.
  • Hamilton Depression Rating Scale – Seasonal Affective Disorder Version (SIGH-SAD): This SAD assessment tool is a version of the Hamilton depression scale that has eight additional items to address SAD.

Pediatric Depression Screening Tool

These pediatric depression screening tool questionnaires are designed to detect depressive symptoms in children and adolescents.

  • Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI): This pediatric depression screening tool is designed to detect depression in children aged 7-17. It has two versions, one with 27 items, and one with 10 items.
  • Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS): The CDRS was created to diagnose depression in children aged 6-12 and has 17 items.

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Do you have any questions about the SCARED screening tool, GAD tools, or generalized anxiety screeners? Click here to contact the Social Work Portal Team.

Both Depression and Anxiety Assessment Tool

One of the popular rapid tools that screen both depression and anxiety is the PHQ 4 depression screening tool, which also includes two questions for anxiety.

The Patient Health Questionnaire-4 (PHQ-4) uses the first two questions from the GAD screener GAD-7 for anxiety. It also uses the first two questions from the PHQ 9 screening tool for depression.

This combination of questions from the GAD tool and PHQ9 tool makes it a quick and easy depression and anxiety screening tool.

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Conclusion | Top Depression & Anxiety Screeners

Depression and anxiety assessment tools are a vital part of the identification and diagnosis of potentially debilitating mental disorders. These mental health questionnaires cover all types of disorders from those that are more generalized, like GAD, to very specific ones, like postpartum depression.

Those in the medical field and mental health community should become familiar with the most popular depression and anxiety screeners for various disorders, so they can apply them as needed to improve detection and treatment rates.

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FAQ | Anxiety & Depression Screening Tool

What does an anxiety screening consist of?

An anxiety screening tool consists of a list of items or questions that will typically describe various symptoms of anxiety. The individual taking the anxiety test will often be asked to indicate how often they’ve experienced that symptom over a certain time.

What is the best anxiety screening tool?

There are many different types of anxiety assessment tools, but one of the most popular is the GAD-7. This GAD screening tool to identify generalized anxiety disorder has just seven questions and has been proven to be reliable and effective.

What screening tool is used for depression?

There are many types of depression assessment tool options out there. Three of the most popular are:
•Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2)
•Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)
•Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

What are PHQ-2 and PHQ-9?

The Patient Health Questionnaire 2 and 9 are designed to assess a person for signs of depression. The PHQ-2 is a brief two-question assessment that is done as a precursor to the longer PHQ-9 screening tool, which has nine questions.

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