Colorful illustration of a human brain

UW Center for Healthy Minds will research machine learning predictions of well-being

By Heather Harris, UW–Madison

High rates of depression, anxiety, loneliness and lack of purpose are taking a toll on Americans’ mental and physical health, with wide-ranging negative consequences. Unfortunately, many of those most in need of mental health services are unable to access them through traditional means.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Center for Healthy Minds are working on one possible solution that leverages artificial intelligence to deliver personalized well-being content through a person’s mobile device when they need it most.

“We hope to discover how to offer supportive well-being practices on mobile phones that are sensitive to what a person is feeling and easy to engage with in the moment,” says Christy Wilson-Mendenhall, co-investigator on the new, two-year project, which is set to launch this year.

Supported by a $3 million-plus grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the project aims to discover and develop technologies that in the future may inform the delivery of algorithm-based micro-supports — short well-being practices like mindful breathing that may help in the moment — through a version of the Healthy Minds program, currently used in the Healthy Minds Program smartphone app. Read more …