Brain Sciences


Lecture: 'Mental Health in the Digital Age' by Dr Tom Insel

13 June 2018, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm


You are warmly invited to a lecture which will be delivered by Dr Tom lnsel, co-founder and President of Mindstrong Health.

Event Information

Open to





Professor Peter Fonagy and Professor Robert Howard


Christopher Ingold Building XLG2 Auditorium 20 Gordon Street London WC1H 0AJ

Digital technologies are being developed to address a broad range of health challenges. Mental health challenges may seem particularly suited for a digital solution. As mental disorders are experienced as behavioral or cognitive problems, digital phenotyping based on smartphone sensor data, keyboard performance, and voice/speech is especially promising for detecting and diagnosing anxiety, mood, or psychotic disorders. In contrast to traditional assessments which are subjective, episodic, and clinic-based; digital phenotyping can deliver objective, continuous, and ecological assessments of behavior.

Because the assessment is passive and the technology is ubiquitous, there is understandable enthusiasm about this new approach to measuring behavior and cognition. But will better measurement result in better outcomes? We do not yet have the evidence to answer this question, although combining this afferent signal with the efferent use of online tools (from peer support to improved clinical management) may close the loop.

This lecture will explore the promise and problems of digital phenotyping and online treatments, arguing that better measurement will be fundamental to better management of mental disorders and describing the studies necessary to prove the clinical value and ensure the public trust for this new technology.

More information 

Dr. Insel is a Psychiatrist and Neuroscientist, is a co- founder and President of Mindstrong Health. From 2002-2015 served as Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) committed to research on mental disorders.