Our team has founded a startup which has grown organically out of a deeply personal and critical need. While embryonic, we have moved aggressively, assembling a skeleton team, completed a functional prototype and are collecting data. If you are reading this, we hope you’ll help us out and participate in the alpha trial.
How’d we get into this?
mind.me is built by patients for patients. Two of our three founders suffer from mental health conditions (Bipolar and Major Depressive Disorder), and our third founder lives and works with us daily. We understand the needs of our community. Additionally, we have had our hypothesis validated by one of the leading Mental Health institutions in Canada.
Depression is a disease of the mind. If you feel it, you have it. And because depression numbs the senses, it can make it very difficult to identify and understand your own triggers when it is most needed. Regardless of how self-aware you might be, a depressive episode can sneak up on you with little or no notice. Our goal is not only to diagnose depressive episodes, but ultimately to predict them so they can be proactively managed. We are focusing on prevention over treatment.
This is the most exciting and important work of our careers.
We’ve seen the emergence of Biotech and Fintech; industries disrupting and transforming legacy businesses because of the accessibility of talent, technology and data. Mental health has remained untouched; we believe there is an opportunity for us to lead in this field. We’re calling it ‘MindTech’.
Here’s some context.
Our startup is called mind.me which is an application built to help diagnose, manage and more importantly predict depressive episodes. Our community is 350 million people worldwide and we believe we can have a substantial impact building a socially conscious business.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Clinical Depression is diagnosed by positively identifying 5 of 9 symptoms. mind.me can tie the symptoms to data points collected by sensors and data emerging from an individuals’ mobile phone. Most importantly, the application is passive and ambient and once installed requires nothing from the user.
You should know that all user data sent to mind.me is serialized and anonymous. mind.me encrypts all data using the sha-1 algorithm as a one-way encryption bridge. Contrary to standard web services, mind.me does not have the required key to unencrypt user data. All data encryption is done on the mobile device itself before sending the encrypted hashed information to the server. mind.me is looking for pattern changes and therefore does not need specific user information. We will ultimately have our data policy validated by a third party to ensure our community is comfortable with our data collection policy (we’re waiting on funding).
As a phase one we will diagnose depressive episodes. We are building a model which achieves diagnostic accuracy for negative emotions at 85%+. This will change the lives of all clinically depressed people as well as their friends and families.
Our phase two will focus on management. Features will include identifying a “circle of trust” (husband, mother, sibling, best friend) with whom mind.me can proactively communicate the detection of an upcoming depressive episode. We will elaborate in a future post.
Phase three we will move from detection to prediction. We will significantly scale the number of data sources (200+) to refine our algorithms and enhance our predictive capabilities.
Here’s the deal. Depending on what country you live in, 35% — 85% of people do not receive any treatment for their mental health condition. If current trends continue, by 2020, mental illness will be the second leading cause of all disability globally (after heart disease).
· 66% of countries spend 1% or less of their total health budget on mental health
· 40% of countries have no mental health policy and over 30% have no mental health programs
· Approximately 25% of countries have no mental health legislation
· 40% of countries have less than one hospital bed reserved for mental disorders per 10 000 people
· There is only one psychiatrist per 100 000 people in over half the countries in the world
So clearly, depression is a global epidemic that has not been proportionally recognized, funded, or treated. Together, we are hopeful that mind.me and our growing community can change all that. It’s going to take you and us to make a difference and this is the first step. We’ve got big plans and we will share them with you as we hit our milestones.
Get involved at www.mindme.mobiTags: depression, mental health