Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University is implementing the StandStrong research project in partnership with George Washington University, Yale University, and University of the Witwatersrand to improve community-level treatment of maternal depression in Nepal through innovative digital technologies. Our interdisciplinary team of experts in mHealth interventions, psychiatry, anthropology, implementation science, biostatistics, and health economics from Nepal, South Africa, and the U.S. has been developing and testing a passive data collection suite and app interface for non-specialist counselors to treat mothers with postpartum depression in Nepal. The StandStrong suite consists of a participant application and a counselor mobile application. The participant app will utilize a sensor in smartwatch devices to monitor mothers who are at risk of suffering from postnatal depression. The counselor app platform will incorporate passive sensing data that was collected from the mothers (through the smartwatch devices) in order to tailor the psychological interventions that they receive by the counselor.
The goal is to evaluate the suite of digital technologies in resource-constrained settings like Nepal so that personalized psychological treatments can be provided in areas that lack the capacity of quality mental healthcare services. The devices for passive sensing consist of a smartwatch for the mother, and a small attachable Bluetooth beacon for the baby. It will record physical activity, GPS location (movement), proximity to the baby, and sound (social interactions). This passive sensing data from mobile technology sensors will be used to construct reliable models that can associate specific activity with postnatal depression such as the length of time spent with the child, types of vocal interactions, physical activity and frequency of outings. A community advisory board, which will include mothers of various ages, their families, community leaders, and healthcare providers in the area will evaluate effectiveness of the StandStrong project.
Co-Principal Investigators: Brandon A. Kohrt, Alastair van Heerden, Rajeev Shrestha
Co-Investigators: Ashley Hagaman, Abha Shrestha, Prabin Byanjankar, Anjana Dongol
Project Coordinators: Sujen Man Maharjan and Christina Juan
Supported by: US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)