Smartphone apps developed to monitor teen mental health

A recent study suggested a rise in smartphone use likely contributed to the increase of suicide rates and depression in U.S. teens and young adults.

Now, apps are being used to detect mental health problems.

Mainstream Mental Health chair and clinical forensic psychologist Dr. John Huber said there's at least 1,000 smartphone “biomarkers” for depression.

"We need to remember as a society, though, even if they have an app specifically designed to monitor and do that, it will never replace an actual evaluation and clinical diagnostic impression made by a clinician," said Huber.

<PSI_END_OBJECT>He said a lot of the social media apps have already been internally monitoring user's negative behavior—like changes in typing speed, voice tone and word choice.

But, using smartphone apps can be a nudge in the right direction to seek early treatment for mental health help.

"A lot of the social media apps have already been monitoring and been trying to do this internally within the social media, whether it's Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook," said Huber.

He’s concerned of privacy issues online and it could be a violation of someone's civil rights.

According to the AP:

“Depression affects about 3 million U.S. teens, and rates have climbed in the past decade. Thirteen percent of 12- to 17-year-olds had depression in 2017, up from 8 percent in 2010, U.S. government data show. One in 10 college-aged Americans is affected.

Suicide has risen to the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 34. Rates among teen girls doubled from 2007 to 2015, climbing to 5 per 100,000. And among boys, rates jumped 30 percent, to 14 in 100,000.”

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