Mental health - Do I need any help?


How can I tell if I have mental health problems/depression/anxiety/psychological distress?


The Kessler (K10) is a very simple, quick questionnaire that will help to measure your mental health and psychological distress, which are likely to occur for example in depression and anxiety states, and at others times of distress. Note, this very short questionnaire is not designed to help identify psychotic disorders.


There are five possible responses for each question that is asked: all of the time; most of the time; some the time; a little of the time; and none of the time. The scores are: all of the time = 5; most of the time=4; some the time=3; a little of the time=2; and none of the time=1. These scores are added up to give the K10 score. The lowest possible score is 10, the highest possible score is 50.


There is no right answer to any of the questions, the scores do however indicate if you may have some mental health problems. There has been considerable research on the Kessler 10 questionnaire, so if the scores do indicate that you have a mental health problem, please do seek further advice and support from your naturopath or other healthcare provider.


What do different scores indicate?

" score under 20 are likely to be well;

" score 20-24 are likely to have a mild mental health disorder;

" score 25-29 are likely to have moderate mental health disorder;

" score 30 and over are likely to have a severe mental health disorder.


The Kessler 10 + is a slightly extended version; focused (as with the Kessler 10 standard form) on how you have been feeling in the past four weeks. The additional four questions do not add to the score on the first 10 questions, but give an indication of the impact or degree of disability associated with psychological distress or mental health problems.


You can use The Kessler 10 form and Kessler 10 + forms to monitor your mental health and psychological distress. If you have a score higher than 20 please do contact us for help and support, or a review of your naturopathic treatment and recommendations.


What happens if you have a score of less than 20 but still feel anxious, depressed, distressed or concerned about your mental health?

It is important to remember that the Kessler 10 questionnaire does not cover all aspects of psychological distress or mental health problems. Although it is generally a good guide, you may have a low score but still feel there are some areas that you need some help with. In this case do contact us for naturopathic help with these issues.


Click here to access the Kessler 10 + Questionnaire...


Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths; if needed they will also prepare tailored herbal medicines and recommend supplements to help you feel your best.  Call 07 571 3226 or email us:




1.         Andrews G, Slade T: Interpreting scores on the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10). Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 2001, 25(6):494-497.

2.         KESSLER R, nbsp, C., ANDREWS G, COLPE L, J., HIRIPI E, MROCZEK D, K., NORMAND S-L et al: Short screening scales to monitor population prevalences and trends in non-specific psychological distress. Psychological Medicine 2002, 32(06):959-976.

3.         FURUKAWA TA, KESSLER RC, SLADE T, ANDREWS G: The performance of the K6 and K10 screening scales for psychological distress in the Australian National Survey of Mental Health and Well-Being. Psychological Medicine 2003, 33(02):357-362.

4.         O'Connor SS, Beebe TJ, Lineberry TW, Jobes DA, Conrad AK: The association between the Kessler 10 and suicidality: a cross-sectional analysis. Comprehensive Psychiatry, In Press, Corrected Proof.

5.         Oakley Browne MA, Wells JE, Scott KM, McGee MA: The Kessler Psychological Distress Scale in Te Rau Hinengaro: the New Zealand Mental Health Survey . Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2010, 44(4):314-322.