NEVERMIND sets out to empower people who suffer from symptoms of depression related to a serious somatic disease by placing them at the center of their mental healthcare. Equipped with a smartphone and a lightweight sensitized shirt, patients seeking care and treatment for their mental illnesses interact with these devices that collect data about their mental and physical health, to then get effective feedback.

Lifestyle factors, i.e. diet, physical activity, and sleep hygiene, play a significant mediating role in the development, progression and treatment of depression, and in NEVERMIND will be monitored by a real-time Decision Support System running locally on the patient’s smartphone, predicting the severity and onset of depressive symptoms, by processing physiological data, body movement, speech, and the recurrence of social interactions. 

The data will trigger a response encouraging the patient to conduct or alter activities or lifestyle to reduce the occurrence and severity of depressive symptoms. The final aim is to bring this system to the market, giving people the tools to control their depression and unburden their minds. 

The project was funded by the EU's research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020. It started in January 2016 and finished in September 2020.  

NEVERMIND = NEurobehavioural predictiVE and peRsonalised Modelling of depressIve symptoms duriNg primary somatic Diseases with ICT-enabled self-management procedures 


Project partners designed, developed and set up an ICT system that collects data about users’ mental and physical health through a smartphone app and smart sensors. A machine learning algorithm analyses physiological data, body movements, speech and the recurrence of social interactions to predict the severity and onset of symptoms.   The system then uses this data to propose a tailored programme that includes activity and lifestyle tools to help users cope with their depression and lead a healthier life. It offers a variety of interventions against symptoms, namely mindfulness exercises, cognitive behavioural therapy and behavioural advice to improve lifestyle. This all-in-one personalised solution can work alongside the treatment of the primary disease. 

The ICT-enabled platform is one of the few available e-health interventions that has proven to effectively decrease depression symptoms in patients with severe somatic diseases. This should ultimately reduce the excess burden placed on healthcare systems, patients themselves and their caregivers. Patients will also be able to rely much less on caregivers.    

NEVERMIND partners assessed the system’s effectiveness in reducing symptoms of depression compared to the usual treatment or care they receive. In total, 339 patients with kidney failure, breast cancer and limb amputation were monitored. Of these, 168 were randomly assigned to use the NEVERMIND system while the remainder underwent normal care. Results showed that the system significantly reduced depressive symptoms compared to the control group.   

Ultimately, the project will save resources for clinical wards and healthcare systems overall in providing psychological screening, support and early intervention for patients with a higher risk of developing depression. 


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Vladimir Carli

Senior Lecturer/Senior Physician
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