Zhang, Liu, and Jain received NSF Award

Mi Zhang, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Michigan State University, Alex X. Liu and Anil K. Jain, Professors of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University, in collaboration with Jingbo Meng, Assistant Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University, and David C. Mohr, Professor of Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Director of Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies, have been awarded a three-year NSF grant for a project titled "iSee - Intelligent Mobile Behavior Monitoring and Depression Analytics Service for College Counseling Decision Support".

Depression is the leading health issue on college campuses in the U.S. Today, college students are dealing with depression at some of the highest rates in decades. Unfortunately, university counseling centers (UCCs), which are the primary access points for students to receive mental health services, are facing significant challenges in meeting the increasing demands. Specifically, clinicians at UCCs still rely on patients' inaccurate and biased self-reported symptoms for depression assessment. In addition, UCCs provide mental health services only during working hours in clinical settings. The lack of service access when needed could leave patients floundering helplessly and lead to lifelong consequences. Furthermore, with tight budgets, clinicians at UCCs have not grown and some UCCs even downsized. As a consequence, more students did not receive timely treatment. This project focuses on designing and developing iSee, a smart device based behavior monitoring and analytics platform. iSee harnesses smartphones/wristbands to extend the reach of mental health care far beyond clinical settings and to deliver timely therapies when needed. Furthermore, the continuously tracked depression symptoms allow UCCs to be more accurately informed with the severity of each patient and thus reduces unnecessary visits so that clinician time can be better utilized. If successful, iSee has the potential to enhance mental health services in thousands of colleges and universities, benefiting millions of college students. Although focusing on depression of college students, the technology can be extended to other mental health conditions such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, dementia, and schizophrenia; adapted to patients beyond college students; and deployed at other settings such as public hospitals and private clinics.

(Date Posted: 2016-09-02)