New app tested in Pittsburgh can help you with your mental health simply by hearing your voice

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – In the struggle to keep mental health manageable, a new entry is showing promising results. 

It’s an app that you can use and it uses science to give you an idea of how you are doing. 

You can tell someone how you are feeling and maybe they can try to put a shine on a dreary condition but now, there’s an app that can hear it in your voice. 

A new entry into “there’s an app for that” the folks at Pittsburgh’s Cognitive Behavioral Institute have been testing an app that detects mental health issues by listening to your voice. 

“We were able to see that it’s pretty accurate,” said Dr. Lindsey Venesky from the Pittsburgh Cognitive Behavior Institute. “[It] may not tell us why but it’s telling us there’s a change.” 

Dr. Venesky said the app comes from Sonde Health and they tested it with 100 local outpatient psychiatric participants over four weeks as the app assessed the subjects’ vocal biomarkers. 

The user goes on the app and records their voice for 30 seconds on a prompted topic or whatever the user would like to talk about, and the app listens. 

“[It listens for] the rhythm, the prosody, the volume of the voice, and all that data together is showing whether it’s an increase or decrease in the patient’s mental health functioning,” Dr. Venesky said. 

For one patient, she didn’t like that the app told her her score was lower but she said she felt fine and didn’t understand, that is until a follow-up conversation with Dr. Venesky. 

“The more we talked about her week, the more we realized that there were actually a few things kind of weighing on her,” she explained. 

Dr. Venesky does caution, though, that this app is in no way a replacement for treatment but it can still be helpful for those who may not yet be in therapy. 

The app also has been adjusted to offer suggestions. 

“Here are some things you maybe want to try, your journaling here, some deep breathing there, or some other strategies,” Dr. Venesky said. “So again, it won’t replace treatment but I think it starts to give people some ideas and things to think about.” 

The Sonde Health App is free and what you say to it and its assessment is for your eyes only. 

As we said earlier, it can detect biomarkers in your voice and that can indicate things could be weighing you down. 

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