Doctors urge patients to take the M3 test for mental health

Most likely you know your numbers when it comes to cholesterol, heart rate, and blood pressure.

But do you know your M3? Your mental health number? It's easy to get and it could save your life.

During an annual physical, a nurse can take your blood pressure, pulse rate, and now check your mood vital signs.

It's a new three-minute test to determine a person's mental health. It's online, it's free to take, and it can be kept confidential.

You can see it at Doctors say it reliably detects early signs of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic-stress disorder.

It screens for alcohol and for suicide risk. Doctors say it should be a standard part of an annual exam.

Hospitalized 14 times with bipolar illness, Patrick Hendry takes the depression screening on line every couple of weeks to monitor his mental health. After answering the questions, a score of 31 is assigned this time.

Doctors refer to this as his M3 number. Other medical professionals or insurance companies use that score for treatment and reimbursement.

The M3 test can also be downloaded on an iPhone or Droid app.

It's hoped millions more Americans will take the test and learn their M3 number, making it as ordinary for them as knowing their cholesterol level.

At some point during their lifetimes, 55 percent of Americans will suffer from a mental disorder. But only about half of them will get treatment.