|Cheryl Forchuk, with Lawson Health Research is running a study that follows 400 people with mental health issues who have been given iPhones to allow them to better monitor their symptoms via the Internet. (MIKE HENSEN/QMI AGENCY) |
LONDON, Ont. — Hoping to prevent a crisis before one starts, a team of Canadian researcher has put smartphones in the hands of 400 people struggling with schizophrenia and depression — with astounding results.
If successful, the program could be used as a model and rolled out in communities across the country.
In what Cheryl Forchuk calls a “game-changer” for how those with mental health issues can be treated, the research is paying for itself by allowing those in the study to keep track of their own triggers — and stay out of the hospital.
“We see this as a potential game-changer in terms of how mental health services can be provided.”
While mood monitoring isn’t new — clients are often asked to track their moods on paper — what is new is how interactive the plan is, making it empowering for those participating, she said.
Patients can create charts to see how their mood is related to what they eat or how often they exercise and set up reminders for themselves to do those things that affect them positively.
“It’s very exciting in that way,” Forchuk said.
The research is also proving to be a boon for the health-care providers involved, who instead of spending precious time asking patients whether they’re following the plan that’s been created, they can tap into deeper issues.
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