Wearable Technology For Mental Health – Texas A&M University

February 17, 2020

a woman holds up her wrist to look at a smartwatch, with a researcher looking on

After the completion of the pilot program, researchers hope to expand the app to other college campuses.

Dharmesh Patel/Texas A&M Engineering

While mental health counseling is available on most college campuses, the stigma around mental health care can keep students away from the help they need. This is why researchers at Texas A&M University are developing evidence-based services to help manage students’ mental health.

Most college students have either a smartphone, tablet or smartwatch that gives them constant access to one another and the world around them. Smart technology and can also provide a reliable platform to deliver mental health services.  To that end, a team of researchers led by Farzan Sasangohar, assistant professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, is developing a wearable continuous monitoring tool.

a student holding up an iphone with the app on the screen

The wearable device would be triggered by negative indicators like heart heart rate, and would prompt the wearer to engage in activities like guided meditation.

Dharmesh Patel/Texas A&M Engineering

The tool uses advanced machine learning and a wide range of sensors provided on commercial off-the-shelf smartwatches to detect signs and symptoms of high anxiety and direct the smartwatch wearer to resources. The wearable device would be triggered by negative indicators, such as anxiety patterns of heart rate and self-reports by the smartwatch wearer, and would prompt the wearer to engage in therapeutic activities. The pilot program is called Mental Health Evaluation and Lookout, or mHELP.