Participate in our
research study

Monitoring Mental Health with Digital Phenotyping


You are invited to take part in a research project. Before you decide to participate it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what participation will involve. Please take your time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. If anything is unclear or you would like more information, please contact us here.

Take your time to decide whether or not to take part. Thank you for reading this.


What is the project’s purpose?

Previous research has identified physiological and behavioural markers of anxiety and depression, such as physical activity, mobility, sleep patterns, and texting behaviour. These can be monitored via smartphone sensors, an approach known as ‘digital phenotyping’, which has already shown promise in monitoring mental health.

We aim to scale up this approach by applying machine learning models to a large dataset paired with weekly self-assessment questionnaires for anxiety, depression, resilience, and stress to predict an individual’s mental health state. This will be the first step towards building an AI tool capable of predicting the insurgence of a mental health problem and suggesting the best intervention to prevent symptoms from escalating. 


Am I eligible to take part in the study?

You are eligible to take part in this study if you:

    • are an adult aged 18-65 years
    • are able to provide informed consent
    • own an Android smartphone
    • speak fluent English
    • currently reside in the UK

You are not eligible to take part in this study if you:

    • are unable to speak English fluently
    • do not own an Android smartphone
    • are not a resident of the UK

Do I have to take part?

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part.  If you do decide to take part you will be asked to sign a consent form.  You can withdraw at any time without giving a reason. In addition, if you wish, we can delete your data from the study. Just let us know by contacting us.


What will happen to me if I take part?

If you decide to take part in the study, you will be asked to download and install a smartphone application (AWARE-Light). You will need to sign up for the study via an URL we will provide via email, and you will have to give your consent for the app to collect data from your phone sensors. 

Specifically, these sensors are:

    • Accelerometer: measures the acceleration applied to your phone.
    • Applications: records what applications you use.
    • Communication: records when you receive/send a call or a text. It does NOT record phone numbers or the content of the call/text.
    • Gyroscope: records the phone’s rotation.
    • Locations: records your GPS location. We do not want to know where you go, but rather how much you move around during the day. Therefore we are going to re-reference these coordinates so to make it impossible to pinpoint your actual location.
    • Light: records the ambient light.
    • Timezone: records which timezone you are in.
    • Screen usage: records the state of your screen (on/off, locked/unlocked).
    • Temperature: records the ambient temperature.
    • Keyboard: records your taps and scrolls on your phone’s screen. It records masked text, so whatever you write on your phone will be recorded as a series of As and 1s (e.g. “Please buy 4 apples” becomes “Aaaaaa aaa 1 aaaaaa”. We will NOT have access to the content of what you write.

      You can decide what data you are comfortable sharing with us by turning on/off the individual sensors. This data will then be collected automatically.

      In addition to this, you will be asked to fill out a series of questionnaires every week, monitoring some aspects of your mental health (the link is in the onboarding email).

      The study will be 8 weeks long, but you can decide to terminate it sooner if you want (just let us know).

      At the end of the study period, you will receive a compensation of £5 per week (up to a total of £40, if you take part for the whole 8 weeks).


What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

You might find it uncomfortable to fill in questionnaires about stress, anxiety, and depression. To mitigate this, we will grant you free access to Thrive Mental Wellbeing, a digital mental health smartphone application with a variety of tools that can help you cope with mental distress.

Another possible disadvantage is the battery and data requirements of the AWARE-Light app constantly running on your phone (which is necessary for data collection). We set the app so that the collected data are uploaded in our dataset only when you are connected to wifi, so your phone's data allowance will not be impacted. Furthermore, we lowered the rate at which data are sampled to reduce battery consumption.

Finally, you might not be comfortable sharing with us some of the information AWARE-Light collects. We set the study so that you have control over which sensors are active and which aren't, so you can turn off whatever information stream you wish to keep private. If you need help with this, please let us know.


What are the benefits of taking part?

You will receive £5 for each week you take part in the study, up to a maximum of £40.


What if something goes wrong?

If you wish to raise a complaint or need help with anything regarding the study, please contact the principal researcher, Dr. Francesco Silvestrin at


Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?

All the information that we collect about you during the research will be kept strictly confidential. After data collection is complete, all data will be anonymised and any information that can be used to identify you will be removed (e.g. your email address) or otherwise made anonymous (e.g. re-referencing GPS data). If you wish to withdraw your data from the study, please let us know before the 8 weeks end, as afterward, we won't be able to identify your data.

You will not be able to be identified in any ensuing reports or publications. The anonymised data will be held securely for 10 years and uploaded onto the Open Science Framework ( following the completion of the study, in keeping with Open Science practices.


What will happen to the results of the research project?

Results from this study will be written up in the form of MSc theses and scientific papers, published in academic journals, and presented at scientific conferences. Furthermore, the result of the research project will eventually be integrated into the digital mental health smartphone application Thrive Mental Wellbeing.


Local Data Protection Privacy Notice 

The data controller for this project will be Thrive Therapeutic Software. Research is a task that Thrive Mental Wellbeing carries out in the public interest. Your data will be processed in accordance with the standards set by the General Data Protection Regulation 2016 (GDPR).


Who is organising and funding the research?

This research is being funded by Thrive Therapeutic Software Ltd. 


Contact for further information

If you have any questions or require more information about this study, please contact us using the following contact details:

Dr. Francesco Silvestrin 



Thank you for reading this information sheet and for considering taking part in this research study. Please fill in the form below to register.