Check out this recent interview with JP Onnela published in the Harvard Gazette in which he discusses Apple’s recent decision to track mood information via an app as part of an effort to enable people to better understand their own mental health. While Onnela sees it as a positive step, he notes that there are some tricky aspects to collecting good data. One of these is that apps typically rely on self-reporting, which is both hard to sustain over long periods of time and also relies on people’s perceptions of their own moods, which is particularly challenging for serious mental illness.
Onnela suggests it is important to focus on both how to measure changes in mental health and how to manage those changes over time, a process which can sometimes require clinical help. Generally speaking, while there is a role for tech in terms of making people aware of their moods over time and reducing inequities in access to healthcare, it’s also important that there are guardrails for managing sensitive data and moderating human behavior related to wearable devices. For more from the interview, click here.