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Sensing Technology to personalize Adolescent materNal DepreSsion TReatment in lOw resource settiNGs

Co-Principal Investigators:     Brandon A. Kohrt, Alastair van Heerden

Nepal Principal Investigator:  Sujen Man Maharjan
Co-Investigators:  Prasansa Subba, Ashley Hagaman, Anubhuti Poudyal, Prabin Byanjankar, Anup Adhikari, Sauharda Rai, Anvita Bhardwaj

This project aims to develop a tool that will utilize a sensor in mobile phones to identify and monitor young mothers who suffer from perinatal depression. The goal is to research and implement this tool in low-resource settings in Nepal so that personalized psychological treatments can be provided in areas that lack these vital services. The tool is comprised of a mobile phone, for the mother, and a small attachable bluetooth beacon for the baby. It will record GPS location, distance to the beacon, and sound. This data from the mobile phone sensor will be used to construct reliable models that can associate specific activity with perinatal depression such as the length of time spent with the child, the level of vocal interactions, and frequency of outings. A community advising board, which will be comprised of both young and old mothers, their families, and healthcare providers in the area will work to evaluate the effectiveness of the tools and this approach.

Supported by: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Status: Completed


Maharjan, S. M., Poudyal, A., Av, H., Byanjankar, P., Thapa, A., Islam, C., Kohrt, B.. & Hagaman, A. (2021). Passive sensing on mobile devices to improve mental health services with adolescent and young mothers in low-resource settings: the role of families in feasibility and acceptability. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making 21, 117.

Poudyal A, van Heerden A, Hagaman A, Islam C, Thapa A, Maharjan SM, Byanjankar P and Kohrt BA (2021) What Does Social Support Sound Like? Challenges and Opportunities for Using Passive Episodic Audio Collection to Assess the Social Environment. Front. Public Health 9:633606. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.633606

Byanjankar, P., Poudyal, A., Kohrt, B. A., Maharjan, S. M., Hagaman, A., & van Heerden, A. (2020). Utilizing passive sensing data to provide personalized psychological care in low-resource settings. Gates Open Research, 4(118), 118. (

Poudyal, A., van Heerden, A., Hagaman, A., Maharjan, S. M., Byanjankar, P., Subba, P., & Kohrt, B. A. (2019). Wearable digital sensors to identify risks of postpartum depression and personalize psychological treatment for adolescent mothers: protocol for a mixed methods exploratory study in rural Nepal. JMIR research protocols, 8(9), e14734.

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