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and treatment of mental illnesses.

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Improving Mental Health of Populations with Access to Cutting-edge Technologies (IMPACT)


Adam Haim, Ph.D.
David Chambers, D.Phil.
Division of Services and Intervention Research


This initiative aims to support the research, development, and testing of technology-based solutions focused on the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.


Within recent years, there has been an explosion in health technology that has resulted in game changing innovations. Emerging technology holds the promise of providing researchers and clinicians the ability to synthesize multiple streams of data, evaluate risk and trajectory in real time, and facilitate rapid linkages to care. However, there has been a lag in the evaluation and application of these technology-based solutions for the treatment of mental illnesses. This initiative - Improving Mental Health of Populations with Access to Cutting-edge Technologies (IMPACT) builds off of NIMH RFA MH-13-061 (Harnessing Advanced Health Technologies to Drive Mental Health Improvement) and will encourage the rapid development and testing of low cost, scalable, high impact technologies that can prevent or change the trajectory of illness development. For example, a smartphone app that could identify an individual’s acute risk for suicide and provide linkages to needed support could dramatically improve suicide prevention at a population level.

The goals of this potential initiative will include:

  • Promote the rapid adaptation/development and testing of technology-based solutions and mHealth assessments, interventions, and tools that are effective and able to be rapidly disseminated.
  • Provide a unique opportunity to seed the field with novel innovative technology focused on the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
  • Promote collaborations and partnerships between IT and software developers and mental health researchers.
  • Facilitate the use of robust technology platforms and test beds.

IMPACT project examples:

  • Biosensors to identify and stratify early signals and risk behaviors prior to the onset of clinically significant symptoms. Potential treatment targets include, suicide prevention, first episode psychosis and depression relapse.
  • Next generation mHealth interventions - e.g. neurofeedback, cognitive training software, social prosthetics.
  • Clinical decision-support systems that optimize treatment decision-making based on patient characteristics and preferences.

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