Anxiety and Depression  |  Self-Care  |  Treatments

Take the Depression Test Now!


29 November 2021  |   5 min read

This article was first published on 29 July 2020.

We take our body temperature to monitor our physical health and ensure that we are well during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, it is important for us to check our mental health regularly and keep ourselves mentally well. 

COVID-19 can impact our mental health due to heightened stress and depression. Monitoring and acknowledging our mental health early help us to seek help and address our concerns before they become greater mental health issues such as severe depression.

This self-assessment tool, PHQ-9, is a validated and widely used tool worldwide to assess mood and severity of depression. Use this self-assessment tool to find out more about your current mood and what you can do to keep depression at bay. For people with depressive mood or depression, PHQ-9 helps you to monitor your response to treatment and chart your recovery process, allowing you to have greater control over your mental health.

Just like checking your temperature, you can schedule a self-assessment as and when you experience any emotional discomfort such as low mood or depressive symptoms, or regularly such as once every fortnight.

How to use it:

  1. Answer the questions based on how frequently you have experienced each statement (in the last 2 weeks) by circling your responses (e.g. 0,1,2,3);
  2. Total your scores for the PHQ-9 self-assessment tools and write them in the box;
  3. Refer to the recommendations at the end of the self-assessment tool based on your scores.

PHQ- 92

Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by any of the following problems? Not at all Several days More than half the days Nearly every day
1 Little interest or pleasure in doing things 0 1 2 3
2 Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless 0 1 2 3
3 Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much 0 1 2 3
4 Feeling tired or having little energy 0 1 2 3
5 Poor appetite or overeating 0 1 2 3
6 Feeling bad about yourself — or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down 0 1 2 3
7 Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television 0 1 2 3
8 Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite — being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual 0 1 2 3
9 Thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way 0 1 2 3
    PHQ9 total score  

2PHQ-9 is adapted from PRIME MD TODAY, Copyright© 1999 Pfizer Inc. All rights Reserved. Developed by Drs. Robert L. Spitzer, Janet B.W. Williams, Kurt Kroenke and colleagues, with an educational grant from Pfizer Inc. No permission required to reproduce, translate, display, or distribute.

PHQ-9 Scores Depression Severity Recommended Actions
0 – 4 None-minimal
  • Continue to stay positive and engage in regular, healthy daily routine.
  • Incorporate ACE activities (i.e. activities that bring you a sense of Achievement, Connection to others and Enjoyment) in your daily schedule.

View self-care tips here

5 – 9 Mild
  • Monitor your emotions and watch out for any signs of low mood and depressive symptoms.
  • Re-assess your mood using our self-assessment tool and note any changes.
  • Learn and practise positive coping strategies by listening in to online forums or reading self-help articles.
  • Seek social support by opening up to trusted friends or family members.
10 – 14 Moderate
  • Seek professional support such as counselling or psychotherapy.
  • Join a support group.
  • See a doctor for pharmacotherapy, if needed.
15 – 19 Moderately severe
  • Seek mental health treatment with a mental health specialist such as a Clinical Psychologist or Psychiatrist.
20 – 27 Severe
  • Seek immediate attention with mental health specialists, including Clinical Psychologist and Psychiatrist and consider both medication and psychological treatment.
  • If you are thinking of harming yourself or others, please seek immediate help at the A&E department or call 995.


COVID-19 can impact our mental health due to heightened stress and depression.

If you are facing a mental health crisis and need urgent help, contact the following services to seek the necessary mental health support:

    • Viriya Therapy Centre
      Tel: 6256 13311
    • IMH Mental Health Helpline
      Tel: 6389 2222
    • For immediate assistance, call 995

For crisis and suicide intervention:

    • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS)
      Tel: 1-767

This self-assessment tool and recommendations are provided for informational purposes only and are not meant to be substitutes for advice provided by a doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a health problem or mental health disorders. You should always consult with a doctor or other health care professionals for medical advice or information on diagnosis and treatment. If you have any concerns about your mood and mental health, you can speak to a clinical psychologist from Viriya Community Services by calling 6256 1311 or emailing

The contributor is a Clinical Psychologist at Viriya Community Services.

Like this article? See also Infographic: Mental Health in Singapore.