A Clinical Perspective on Big Data in Mental Health

  • John TorousEmail author
  • Nikan Namiri
  • Matcheri Keshavan


While the word analysis holds special meaning in psychiatry from a psychodynamic therapy perspective, our lives are also constantly being analyzed by machines. Whether we realize it or not, computers have been fully integrated into our lives and devices, ranging from the smartphone we use for phone calls, the cars we use to drive, and the internet we use to communicate across. All of these computers contain algorithms that seek to analyze and understand our behaviors or intentions: the smartphone to remind of appointments and recommend navigation routes, the car to automatically brake if a child jumps in the road, the search engine to offer website links to answer a question. The same algorithms that make today’s computers useful are not only restricted to increasing efficiency, ease, and comfort. They can also be, and already are, used to study, predict, and improve mental health. In this chapter we explore the rapidly expanding field of digital psychiatry with a focus on the synergy between data and algorithms that hold the potential to transform the mental health field.


Mental health Big data Psychiatry Machine learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Digital PsychiatryBeth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryBeth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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