mental health anomalies
Monitoring mental health New technology uses advanced machine learning to monitor patients’ mental health between visits to their medical providers
esearchers at Texas A&M University have
Non-intrusive sensors in wearable technologies
developed a smart-device based electronic
such as smartwatches are used together with
platform to help patients manage their
advanced machine learning and data analytics
mental health between appointments.
techniques to detect patterns associated with mental
The technology continuously monitors
health anomalies. In addition, novel technologies such
the patient’s state of hyperarousal, which is one of the signs of psychological distress. The platform can read facial cues, analyse voice
as facial and voice sentiment analysis are utilised. The platform provides a suite of therapeutic tools, such as breathing exercises, mindfulness,
patterns and integrate readings from built-in vital
community support, telecare, automated
signs sensors on smartwatches to determine if a
messages and location sharing.
patient is feeling anxious or depressed. The technology not only enables patients to better manage their mental health, it could also allow
Game changing technology
Results from initial testing of the technology suggest
medical providers and counsellors to monitor how
a high level of acceptance, adoption and compliance
their patient is tracking.
among users. There was also a high level of perceived accuracy for the detected events.
Gap in services
“I think this technology will be a game-changer,”
Dr. Farzan Sasangohar, assistant professor in the
said Dr Sasangohar, “since it not only raises mental
Wm Michael Barnes ‘64 Department of Industrial
health awareness and keeps users in the loop
and Systems Engineering, explained: “The platform
about their current state, but it also provides timely
was inspired by our previous work on monitoring
intervention to deal with acute issues, preventing
hyperarousal events among combat veterans.
them from becoming chronic.
We identified a twofold gap in providing mental
“I firmly believe the future of mental health
healthcare: firstly, underutilisation of mental health
care belongs to self-management technologies.
services, potentially due to emotional numbness and
Technology can play a big role in feeding providers
stigma; and secondly, lack of monitoring capabilities
with key objective information related to mental
in between therapeutic sessions. The platform is our
health and by providing timely, discreet and on-
contribution to address these gaps.”
demand therapeutic interventions.” ●
The platform detects patterns associated with