The future of digital mental health

Steven Chan steven@berkeley.edu
Peter Yellowlees peter.yellowlees@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
John Torous jtorous@bidmc.harvard.edu
Josef Ruzek Josef.Ruzek@va.gov
Arshya Vahabzadeh vahab1789@gmail.com

Abstract

Persons suffering from depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychiatric diseases have difficulty with today’s fragmented mental health system. What if mental health support could be more accessible, optimize wellness, enable global reach, and empower all patients?

Technologies to make this a reality already exist: smartphones and wearable devices.  90% of Americans have access to a cell phone, and a majority of psychiatric patients own smartphones, providing a portal for consumers who may not want to seek in-person help or may face barriers to mental healthcare. But challenges abound in clinically validating and integrating this new paradigm of mental health into our existing systems. We will discuss our research in combining physiological, psychological, and behavioral metrics and real-time capturing of data.  We will review how data analysis techniques can monitor, assess, and treat mental illness — from mild everyday stress to serious cognitive disorders. Our panel will discuss the future of telemedicine, mobile and digital mental health, and how innovators, clinicians, and patients can collaborate to create new mental health solutions.

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