Your Phone Knows You’re Depressed Before You Do


Ron Bennetts

Despite new drugs, brain scans, and other innovations, mental illness remains an epidemic that we don’t know how to cure or treat. Tom Insel is trying to change that, and he thinks our phones will be the key (David Dobbs in The Atlantic). Insel, who led the National Institute of Mental Health for 13 years, left government to join the mental-health effort at Verily, Google’s healthcare spinoff — and recently left Verily for a new startup called Mindstrong.

Like several other companies in this field, Mindstrong intends to use the stream of data that our phones produce as a sort of early-warning system for the onset of conditions like depression and schizophrenia, and then help connect the user with counselors, peers, or doctors who can offer resources and treatments — quickly enough to make a difference.

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