Sonde Health has unveiled Sonde Mental Fitness, a voice-enabled mental health detection and monitoring technology that uses a brief voice sample to evaluate mental well-being.
Available as an application programming interface (API) for health systems, employers, and wellness service providers, Sonde Mental Fitness is an easy and affordable way for individuals to engage with and better understand their mental well-being and can serve as a much-needed early warning system for depression and other mental health conditions.
Much like a physical fitness tracker, Sonde Mental Fitness utilizes biomarkers to measure key indicators of health. Studies have shown that health conditions including depression, stress, anxiety, sleepiness/fatigue, and certain respiratory conditions can impact vocal features such as smoothness, control, liveliness, energy range, clarity. Sonde’s voice processing technology analyzes a 30-second audio recording of a user’s voice, picking up on subtle changes to these vocal features that could indicate changes to one’s mental fitness.
“In the U.S., 42% of adults report experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, yet less than 10% of people with a mental health condition receive effective treatment,” said David Liu, CEO at Sonde Health. “As the pandemic’s strain on mental health continues, Sonde Mental Fitness aims to shrink that gap by creating awareness. With a greater understanding of their mental well-being, people can take a more proactive approach to their mental health, including seeking treatment when necessary. In healthcare, better patient engagement leads to better outcomes. In the workplace, better awareness of mental health leads to healthier, happier, and more productive employees, and could improve engagement with employer-provided mental health services, which resides at a low 5.5% utilization rate despite being offered at 97% of large employers.”
Sonde Mental Fitness is powered by audio signal processing technology and machine learning models trained on more than 1 million voice samples from all over the world and has been optimized for voices across cultures, dialects, and languages.
The tool prompts users to record a 30-second voice sample by responding to one of more than two dozen prompts, such as “How was your day?” It then analyzes the vocal features contained within the sample and translates results into an overall mental fitness score ranging from “excellent” to “pay attention.”
Sonde Mental Fitness also delivers useful health tips for users to strengthen their mental well-being. Additionally, voice samples are transcribed and stored as daily text journal entries, giving users a historical and contextual understanding of their emotional fitness. The combination allows individuals to track their mood and emotional progress over time, leading to improved self-awareness.
The use cases for Sonde Mental Fitness span enterprise and healthcare. For instance, employers can build Sonde Mental Fitness into their employee wellness offering as a low-risk, consumer-friendly way for employees to stay in tune with their mental health and improve the utilization of employee assistance programs (EAPs).
Mental health providers, meanwhile, can use Sonde Mental Fitness to support therapy workflows and keep patients engaged in treatment outside of an office setting.
“Patients can sometimes struggle to identify thoughts and events that contribute to their symptoms,” said Lindsey Venesky, PhD, NCSP, from the Cognitive Behavior Institute. “Sonde Mental Fitness helps our patients make connections by encouraging them to regularly check in on their current mental state. These insights then support my work with my patients by helping to identify patterns in their symptoms that can contribute to their overall treatment progress.”
“Vocal biomarkers, and Sonde’s technology specifically, have already been proven effective at detecting symptoms of respiratory disease, including COVID-19,” added Liu. “With the release of Sonde Mental Fitness, we’re extending the use of our voice-based health detection and monitoring platform beyond respiratory illness to cognitive and mental health conditions, and we’re laying the groundwork to support additional health conditions.”
Sonde Mental Fitness is currently available through its API platform for integration into third-party apps. It’s also available as a standalone app for iOS and, soon Android, mobile devices to serve as a proof of concept for health systems, employers, and wellness services interested in testing out the API’s capabilities.