Mental Health
Assistance App

Ethical Frameworks | Regulations | Best Practices

Project Goals

In 2011, the Mental Health Commission of Canada estimated that 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health condition, representing $50 billion invested annually. With the rise of COVID-19, symptoms such as depression, anxiety and a sense of loneliness have impacted a larger population.

To address this, we have created an AI-based framework and a product concept that follow design thinking principles. Some of the pillars we included in our project were:

  • Stakeholder assessment

  • Privacy by design

  • Risks assessment


Solution Design

SkAI is a video diary application that runs on mobile phones.  Mental health practitioners will ask patients to record their current thoughts and experiences with video through either guided interactions or a freestyle approach: the user shares their thoughts and experiences.

A second major feature is an alert system that is based on metrics and thresholds. This will determine whether the patient should be connected to a hotline.

This application is aimed for patients going through the therapy stage, who experience mild depression, anxiety or stress.


Design Thinking Approach

Our interviews and surveys revealed many benefits that this solution could bring: form automation, ability to record more relevant patient insights, improved therapy and mental health outcomes

We also identified potential risks in the product such as a reduced face-to-face interactions, an increased amount of data that can overwhelm the system, privacy concerns and false alerts

In response to these, we assessed different scenarios that included the use of 3rd party cloud providers, data encryption and masking, anonymization, consent & ownership, and liability


Outcomes

To execute this solution, we recommended a partnership with a research institution, bringing this way subject matter expertise required to develop better models. An in-house team will still be needed, consisting of data scientists, UX designers, software developers, and mental health experts.

We will implement basic functionality such as GPS, date API, and facial verification with out-of-the box models. The research lab will be responsible for collecting data necessary for initial model training. After the product is released they will provide us with the on-going requirements to collect from our app.


Next Steps

Future considerations for this project include developing a minimum viable product (MVP). Having an MVP will be key in demonstrating the potential of this solution to mental health professionals and investors. Also, establishing a partnership with a mental health research institution will be key in developing accurate models and managing the risk of such a sensitive topic


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