Science

Depression And Anxiety Treated Through Smartphone Counseling On MSU Campus

By Jiran , Sep 15, 2016 03:00 AM EDT
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Students can now seek help for depression through smartphone. The Michigan State University is developing a new mobile technology called iSee. (Photo : Ryan Melaugh / Flickr)

Michigan State University (MSU) has been developing a new mobile technology called iSee to help address the problem of mental health services at the University Counseling Center (UCC). The students and clinicians can now count on their own smartphones and wristbands to help battle depression, anxiety and other problems they might be experiencing.

The Reason Behind iSee

According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), depression has become a serious mental issue among college students in the United States. Many are dealing with it more now than before. The UCC is specifically assigned to provide the students of mental health services. However, they face dilemmas that need to be solved.

The service that UCC offers is only accessible during working hours. Students suffer depression and anxiety beyond that allotted time. As such, they do not receive the needed treatment because of this constraint. By the time UCC becomes available to them, it may be too late.

Furthermore, the budget for some UCCs has been cut. As a result, there is a limited number of clinicians in UCCs to help students.

The current predicament of UCCs also lies in the students, who could easily give prejudiced and incorrect symptoms. Thus, the assessment of clinicians at times can be flawed. A wrong diagnosis is crucial. The NSF did not want to risk it anymore.

The iSee In Student's Smartphone

The iSee will monitor the behavior of the students and analyze the data for the clinicians. The technology will have sensors inside a smartphone or wristband. This is used to track the daily behavior of the user. A behavior analytics engine is needed to translate this data into meaningful analysis results. Machine learning and algorithms will run on the cloud used in the said engine.

This process will determine how depressed the student is. It will also identify the causes of the patient's current state.

A dashboard will display all this information. With it, clinicians could make a more factual and accurate assessment. Thus, they will be able to give the proper treatment to the students. Not to mention that iSee is convenient to use. It is both portable and more accessible.

How Is iSee Beneficial To Students And Clinicians?

According to Meritalk, iSee can assist the students to manage his or her symptoms. Meanwhile, clinicians will know the well-being of the students. They would discover who will need the most support.

MSU Counseling Center Director Scott Becker said that the iSee project is extremely innovative. It will significantly enhance the mental health treatments of students. Mi Zhang, the team leader of the project, added that the clinicians will be more accurately informed with iSee.

This new technology can be used in public hospitals and private clinics eventually with further progress. iSee can also be adapted to deal with other mental health conditions. Among these are anxiety, bipolar disorder, dementia and schizophrenia.

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