How do you quantify ‘good’ mental health?
by Dr. Sagar Jilka
About 5 years ago, I went through the most intense, stressful period of my life.
I struggled to function, think straight, and sleep.
As someone who thinks in numbers, this bothered me a lot; because I couldn’t quantify how I was feeling, why I was thinking this way, or understand what I was going through.
That’s when I really started to think more about how we can measure the mind — not the brain, or brain function — but feelings, moods, and thoughts — our mental health.
I spent a lot of time googling…
‘How to quantify mental health’
‘How to characterise mental health’
‘How to detect poor mental health’
But my searches all came back with validated scales of anxiety and depression.
I remember having a plethora of conversations with friends, family, colleagues about the distinction between the brain and the mind, and how can we start thinking about mental health more objectively, in the same way we do for physical health problems — like a blood test for diabetes, or an MRI for brain injury, but I still couldn’t see a way forward.
That’s when I was introduced to Devas through my colleague and friend, Sara.
We spoke about the potential of measuring mental health through everyday behaviours — behaviours that we don’t consciously think about, such as our movement, our listening habits, aspects of our physical health, and our daily interactions.
I thought, finally, a way to measure and understand mental health without the lengthy questionnaires, and a step towards a personalised, objective insight.
And that’s why I became involved in Devas, because that is exactly what we are trying to do.
We, at Devas, are working to combine technology with humans to understand our mental health and address the mental health crisis. We share a vision to reach as many people as possible to prevent and manage mental health problems.
We are developing the technology to make this possible and we believe this is the future.
Come and join us, sign up now and be the first to try Devas when we launch.
Dr. Sagar Jilka is a Post Doctoral Research Associate and Biomedical Research Centre Theme Coordinator at King’s College London. He holds a PhD and MRes from Imperial College London in Neuroscience and The University of Birmingham in Brain Imaging and Cognitive Neurosciences respectively and is the Head of Data Science at Devas.