Monday Mood News: A New App Works to Reduce World Mental Illness

October 24, 2016

As connected as we are to our phones, you’d think we were intimate friends. In some ways, we certainly are: if the phone could talk, it could probably tell the world more about you than your own loved ones. One online project is trying to capitalize on that close connection with our devices in order to raise awareness of personal mental health and welfare as well as reduce mental illness.

The project, which is called How Is The World Feeling, is a worldwide effort to gather mental health-related data and give actionable steps to the individuals involved. For the week of October 10th of this year, participants checked in throughout the day via an app available on iOS and Android platforms around the world where they were asked to select an emotion, how strongly they felt it, and also recorded what activities they were doing at the time of record and whether they were alone or with others.  and whether you are alone or with others. If the app identified patterns of emotion in your activity that needed to be addressed, it gave you resources and tools that could help.

With an aim to reduce the suicide rate, the project was incredibly successful, with 10,823 participants from across the world and over 58,000 emotions logged. The survey summary gives a further breakdown of the population that participated, but the overall reported information was incredibly interesting. In general, most reported a consistent feeling of feeling “Happy” or “Peaceful,” with “Powerful” listed as the most intensely-felt emotion. When displayed on a map, the most common emotion was happiness except for the northeastern and central parts of South America and the Middle East, which listed their most common emotion as “Sad.” Broken out by gender, most reported feeling happy and peaceful, but there’s strong data to suggest “Anxious” and “Sad” were quite prevalent among both sexes, statistically even in number based on the sample size.

You can check out how the world is feeling more here, but we’re excited about this kind of information. With more participants, we could highlight zones of the world more prone to suicide and send aid and relief to hot zones of mental illness. By self-reporting your own data and accessing your own records, you can track your own mental health, get much-needed resources for treatment and relief, and stay in touch with your emotions on a regular basis. It’s a great use of information, and it helps reduce mental illness-related stigma. It points to a better world via technology, and we’re all for it.