In any given year, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness, yet fewer than half of those suffering receive treatment.
Signs of depression in the human voice might help to diagnose mental health problems Speaking lower, flatter and softer Sounding labored, with more pauses, starts and stops Sounding strained or breathy.
In an attempt to fill that gap, companies are developing digital technology to help doctors diagnose, monitor and treat psychiatric disorders. The behavioral health startup Ellipsis Health, based in San Francisco, uses machine learning to analyze audio recordings of conversations between doctors and patients during exams. The software works as a screening tool to flag patients whose speech matches the voice patterns of depressed individuals, alerting clinicians to follow up with a full diagnostic interview.
Meanwhile, Boston’s Cogito has developed an app to use metadata from patients’ phones to alert health care providers about sudden changes in behavior that might be linked to mental health.