The Harvard Department of Psychiatry and National Depression Screening Day Scale (HANDS) is an easy-to-use screening tool of 10 questions to identify patients with symptoms of recent depression. It is designed to take minimal physician time; it can be filled out by the patient in the waiting room and scored by office staff. Screening for Mental Health , Inc is a nonprofit organization which sponsors the annual National Depression Screening Day (NDSD).


NOTE: The scale is under copyright to the President and Fellows of Harvard College and Screening for Mental Health, Inc. It should be used in conjunction with programs of Screening for Mental Health only. Duplication or use without prior permission of figure on page 2695 is prohibited. For permission to use, contact: Screening for Mental Health, One Washington Street, Suite 304, Wellesley Hills, MA. 02481-1706, Attn: JAMA-HANDS permission.


The instruments asks 10 questions about how the person has felt certain symptoms over the previous 2 weeks.


Responses use a 5 point Likert scale (none, a little of the time, some of the time, most of the time, all of the time) with variable point assignments.

total score =

= SUM(points for all 10 questions)



• minimum score: 0

• maximum score: 30

• The higher the score, the greater the risk for a major depressive episode.

Total Score


0 – 8

Symptoms are not consistent with a major depressive episode. Presence of a major depressive episode is unlikely.

9 – 16

Symptoms are consistent with a major depressive episode. Presence of a major depressive episode is likely. In a self-selected population it is possible that the person instead suffers from a DSM-IV anxiety disorder.

17 - 30

Symptoms are strongly consistent with criteria for a major depressive episode. Presence of major depressive disorder is very likely.


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