A Computational Distributed System to Support the Treatment of Patiens with Major Depression



The project Help4Mood proposes to significantly advance the state-of-the-art in computerized support for people with Major Depression by monitoring mood, thoughts, physical activity and voice characteristics, prompting adherence and promoting behaviours in response to monitored inputs. These advances will be delivered through a Virtual Agent (VA) which can interact with the patient through a combination of enriched prompts, dialogue, body movements and facial expressions. Monitoring will combine existing (movement sensor, psychological ratings) and novel (voice analysis) technologies, as inputs to a pattern recognition based decision support system for treatment management.


The main aim of the Help4Mood project is to provide a closed loop approach supporting the control, communication and treatment management of patients with Major Depression. This approach will be a distributed system with three main components (the Personal Monitoring system, the Virtual Agent component and the DSS for Treatment Management) deployed in both places: at the patient’s site and at the clinician sites.


Major Depression affects between 5% and 10% of the population in Western Europe. Studies have shown that in 28 countries (comprising a population of 466 million), 21 million were affected by depression, representing an estimated cost of 118 billion euros in 2004, or 253 euros per inhabitant. The effect of Major Depression on sufferers’ quality of life and morbidity is similar to the effects of chronic diseases like hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes. Moreover, the World Health Organization reports suicide to be among the top ten causes of death worldwide, with the lifetime risk of suicide in people with mood disorders (mainly depression) estimated to be 6-15%.

02/2011 to 02/2014
European project FP7