XPRIZE Measuring Mental Health

Thanks Nick.

My work on measuring #value, which drives consumption, is likely to relate to mental health, through its Impact and connection to emotion.

By measuring emotion, we can sense change in mental health. Hence diarising anxiety, both intensity and positive or negative direction.

I see emotion as a vector; strong/weak and positive or negative. I call this attitude and it has a target value object.

So self-report of emotion is part of the answer, and behaviour as a triangulating data point especially where the behaviour is a coping strategy.

Community and connecting is both a moderator of emotion and a value-seeking strategy. There is much work to be done in this space though progress may be measured in decades.

Look forward to tracking progress in this space.

My data at: https://figshare.com/authors/Richard_Ferrers/401493

My thesis on value at:
Ferrers, Richard (2018): A consumer value theory of innovation in 3G mobile phones: a grounded theory approach. figshare. Dataset. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.680002

My pamphlet on value at:
Ferrers, Richard (2018): The Little Book of Value: How Innovation Creates Value for Consumers - Volume 1. figshare. Journal contribution. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7376879.v3

R

Here’s an update from this prize sketch:

The challenge we’re trying to address is not just making mental healthcare more affordable; it’s better allocating scarce resources by:

  • Early diagnosis and prevention of mental disorders, which requires normalizing mental health;
  • Matching those who do need care with the right therapists;
  • Improving the efficacy of treatment; and possibly
  • Making reimbursement more objective and fair.

The breakthrough is: What if we could quantify mental health, enabling users to take proactive action to improve their emotional and mental well-being, and either guide them to the right care or preempt therapy altogether?

The winning team would:

  • Develop objective metrics of mental health.
  • Built a tool that:
    • Empowers users to improve their mental well-being, and enhance resilience to mental disorders/substance abuse.
    • Matches users to the right intervention, to the right provider, at the right time.

I agree happiness is difficult to measure, is a nebulous concept, and relies on the subjective input of the individual involved. This is why it is challenging and fits well with XPRIZE endeavours. It challenges us to improve our research involving the individual themselves, their emotions and feelings rather than omit this aspect of being human, an aspect too often omitted in our search for ‘objective’ science and consequently leading to important pitfalls in that science.

Here’s the latest version of this prize sketch:

The grand challenge is that nearly 1 billion people live with a mental disorder, but most are untreated. Substance abuse and suicide are responsible for one in five deaths worldwide. And still we don’t even have a thorough understanding of what mental health is. Diagnosis of mental illness relies heavily on self-assessments. Treatment is trial-and-error. The impact of interventions is hard to measure.

What if we could quantify mental health, enabling users to take proactive action to improve their emotional and mental well-being, and either guide them to the right care or even preempt the need for therapy?

Teams competing in this prize would have to:

  • Develop objective metrics of mental health.
  • Build a tool that:
    • Empowers users to improve their mental well-being.
    • Matches users to the right intervention, to the right provider, at the right time.

The metrics must be a combination of:

  • Reliable, quantifiable biomarkers.
  • Neural or physiological correlates of mental health.
  • Digital phenotypes.

We could either test the metrics retrospectively, using existing datasets, or we could use data from volunteers. Either would be anonymized.

The user tool would be judged according to:

  • Contextualization of metrics to the user, taking into account cultural, environmental, and social factors as well as lifestyle and medical history.
  • Functionality:
    • Provides early screening and triage of mental disorders.
    • Gives the user actionable insights to improve their mental health.
  • User engagement: Measures the impact of behavior and lifestyle changes on the user’s mental well-being over time.
  • Privacy: HIPAA and GDPR compliance.
  • Data security.
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There are various scales on which currently the mental health is being quantified. A 360-degree approach is required for measuring mental health

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I think that it should be broadened to include the decay in mental health which occurs in the elderly and having other early or new metrics here would be helpful. This is highly relevant as a spectrum of neurological mental diseases including Alzheimer’s , Parkinson’s and other dementias exert a huge social toll ( 5 th leading cause of death in US)

I think that there should be though given to say current tools and how new ones would add value including being:
-more accurate
-faster
-easier
-more impactful

While I would very much like to maximize happiness, this seems to diffuse and I worry that without adequately framing the problem one will not be able to achieve a solution.

I support having a very clear goal with very tangible metrics of success.

Here’s the final version of the prize sketch, which will be pitched to XPRIZE benefactors on the weekend of Nov 12-14. Thank you all for your input here! We hope this will be selected for funding and full design.

The global challenge

Nearly 1 billion people live with a mental disorder. Most are untreated. 4 in 10 patients with a severe psychiatric disorder are misdiagnosed. Substance abuse and suicide are responsible for one in five deaths worldwide. And still we don’t have a thorough understanding of what mental health is. Diagnosis of mental illness relies heavily on self-assessments. Treatment, from counseling to medication, often rely on trial-and-error methods. The impact of interventions is hard to measure.

There is an urgent need to…

What if we could quantify mental health, enable users to take proactive action to improve their emotional and mental well-being, and either guide them to the right care or even preempt the need for therapy?

Imagine a world in which…

Everyone is able to understand their mental health. Caring for one’s mental health is as natural as caring for one’s physical health. Globally accepted standards have made therapy more personalized and more precise. Early screening and timely intervention have eased the burden on the mental health system. Funding and reimbursement can be tied to quantifiable health outcomes.

Core problems
(i.e. the market or systemic failures blocking a solution)

Efforts are being made to improve the diagnosis of mental illness. There is a growing market of apps and wearable devices that can monitor (physical) indicators of emotional and mental well-being. $2.4B was invested in digital behavioral health technology in 2020. $1.3B was invested in mental-health tech in Q2 of 2021 alone, up from $100M as recently as 2018.

Because mental health issues remain stigmatized in many parts of the world, innovations tend to either rely on self-reporting or focus on the most prevalent conditions, such as addiction and insomnia. No technology currently on the market gives users a full and objective picture of their mental health, nor allows them to track their mental health over time.

The winning team will…

  • Develop objective metrics of mental health.
  • Build a tool that:
    • Empowers users to improve their mental well-being.
    • Matches users to the right intervention, to the right provider, at the right time.

Prize purse

$25M

Timeline

3 years:

  • 2 years for metric development (with separate judging).
  • 1 year to build a prototype user tool.

Testing and judging

Metrics:

  • Must be a combination of:
    • Reliable, quantifiable biomarkers.
    • Digital phenotypes.
    • Neural or physiological correlates of mental health.
    • Non-medical factors.
  • Test options:
    • Retrospective study, using existing datasets.
    • Data from volunteers.

User tool:

  • Contextualization of metrics to the user, taking into account cultural, environmental, and social factors as well as lifestyle and medical history.
  • Functionality:
    • Gives the user actionable insights to improve their mental health.
    • Provides early screening and triage of mental disorders.
  • User engagement: Measures the impact of (recommended) behavior and lifestyle changes on the user’s mental health over time.
  • Privacy: HIPAA and GDPR compliance.
  • Data security.