The Smartphone App That Can Detect Depression



Smartphones have taken over our lives, so it’s about time they started analysing them.

The Android app ‘Purple Robot’ has been developed by Northwestern University, and uses the phone’s sensor data to determine if the user is depressed.

They conducted an experiment over 2 weeks, with smartphone users having the app running at all times, with every participant completing a PHQ-9 depression test beforehand. The test shows you how likely you are to suffer from depression. And so it seeps, does the app.

The app continuously monitors the users behaviour, and will notice changes very quickly.

In their published findings the app was 87% correct in identifying those who had been found to be depressed according to the prior test.

With MIND’s research showing that 9.7% of people in Britain suffer with anxiety and depression in any one year, it’s important for people to get help at the earliest point possible. Symptoms can be misleading, and many doctors may miss them until it becomes a more serious issue.

Could this app become an important factor in determining the difference between, ‘a bit of a bad few days’ and clinical depression?

The developers seem to think so, and are going to be extending their research study to include more people.

It sounds like a great idea.

If you or anyone you know is suffering, there is help available through people like MIND.