Find Your Place: The Depression Screen

By the Editors of SilverSneakers |

Take a minute to check in with yourself-and how you're feeling. It may have a bigger impact on your health than you realize.

In the past month, have you often been bothered by your feelings or mood? In this video, SilverSneakers fitness expert David Jack explains how this quick screen, known as the Whooley questions, can give you clues about your risk for depression.

Try it now by asking yourself these two questions, which you can answer with a simple yes or no:

  • During the past month, have you often been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
  • During the past month, have you often been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?

You can see what your results mean below. If you've been diagnosed with depression, you can skip the test, but check out the tips below.

You Answered No to Both Questions

That’s a sign you’re not currently experiencing depression. Why does that matter? Because depression is more than sadness—it’s a health condition that can affect your mood, your physical health, and the way you perceive just about everything.

To keep your spirits high, continue to take good care of yourself. Regular exercise, for example, reduces the risk of depression, according to the latest fitness guidelines. Stay on track with your workouts by downloading the SilverSneakers GO app (free, iOS and Android). You can schedule and log your sweat sessions, plus discover new exercises to beat boredom.

You Answered Yes to One or Both Questions

That’s a sign you may be at risk of depression. That’s also a sign to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Depression, and related issues like loneliness and social isolation, can hamper your overall health. In fact, a lack of social connections has the same risk of early death as smoking 15 cigarettes per day, according to a study in PLOS Medicine.

The sooner you can get a proper diagnosis, the sooner you can get the treatment and support you need to start feeling better. Let your doctor know about any:

  • Chronic conditions, like diabetes, or recent medical events, like a heart attack
  • Medications, including prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements
  • Significant life changes, like the loss of a loved one or a recent move
  • Other changes in your health, sleep, appetite, mood, or thinking abilities

If You’ve Been with Diagnosed with Depression

Working with your doctor can help you manage depression and feel better. If you have a chronic condition or have had a recent medical event, managing depression can also help ease symptoms or recovery.

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What else can help: staying active. Any form of regular exercise boosts mood and energy. Why not try a SilverSneakers class? You’ll improve your fitness—and find a built-in community of support. In fact, a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab found that SilverSneakers members are 20 percent less likely to experience social isolation and 25 percent less likely to experience loneliness than non-members.

Need support right away? If you start having thoughts of wanting to die or harm yourself, call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides 24/7, free, and confidential support.

Check Your SilverSneakers Eligibility Instantly

SilverSneakers gives you free, unlimited access to more than 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the nation, plus classes and tools designed to keep older adults strong and independent. Check your eligibility instantly here. Already a member? Get your SilverSneakers member ID and exclusive content by logging in to or creating your online account here.

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