Harnessing telemedicine for suicide prevention: a clinical trial

Backed by DUANE WILDER, Jonathan Hyde, Philip Lerman And Rachel Wilder, Michael J ZUckerman, Barbara Vogelstein, Eric Riddleberger, Molly Friedrich, Rob Wilder, Kathleen Friel, James Duffy, and 252 other backers
Winifred Masterson Burke Medical Research Institute
Lodi, New Jersey
MedicinePsychology
Tax Deductible
$22,690
Raised
23%
Ended on 4/24/16
Campaign Ended
  • $22,690
    pledged
  • 23%
    funded
  • Finished
    on 4/24/16

About This Project

Over 40,000 individuals in the United States will take their own life each year. There are many challenges associated with delivering therapy to people who are at risk of suicide due to the cost and availability of regular care. MindMe is a mobile application that uses state-of-the-art technology to deliver therapy when people need it most. We are seeking funding to develop MindMe for a large-scale clinical trial. Our goal is to demonstrate that MindMe can prevent suicide in at-risk populations.

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What is the context of this research?

Telepsychology is an emerging branch of telemedicine that has the potential to transform the delivery of psychological treatment. Some mobile applications have become commercially available, but most of these apps only offer generic therapy advice, which is ultimately ineffective in individuals who are at risk of suicide. None of these apps are specifically designed to work directly with a licensed therapist, in order to augment the efficacy of strategies learned during a therapy session. By contrast, MindMe works in partnership with the therapist, delivering personalized psychotherapeutic exercises to the user that are based on a clinically proven therapeutic framework known as Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH).

What is the significance of this project?

Suicide is the tenth-leading cause of death in the United States, and its incidence is on the rise. In addition to the devastating emotional toll inflicted upon family and friends who survive a suicide, there is also enormous public cost associated with suicide. Each completed suicide incurs approximately $1 million in lost productivity and healthcare costs. Despite this, accessibility to adequate treatment for at-risk individuals is severely limited due to the expense of ongoing treatment and the associated logistical difficulties (travel arrangements, etc). There is a critical need for accessible healthcare delivery to become more accessible for individuals who are at high risk of suicide. We aim to quantify that MindMe can help to reduce the number of lives lost to suicide each year.

What are the goals of the project?

Our long-term major research goal is to examine the influence of telemedicine on suicidal ideation and suicide behavior. The current application will pave the way towards this goal. In a future project, we will examine whether in-person PATH therapy in combination with MindMe is more effective than supportive therapy alone. Supportive therapy is a control condition that has shown promising results in reducing depression. We will investigate this question by conducting a randomized controlled trial in which participants with suicidal ideation will be randomly assigned to either a "PATH + MindMe" or "Supportive Therapy". Both groups will receive 12 weeks of therapy by trained mental health professionals. Our outcomes will be suicidal ideation and depression at 3 and 6 months.

Budget

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The budget will address two major phases of our clinical trial. The first is the technology development to set up the back end of the product to link up clinicians and patients in multi-platform design. Our application is currently only available on an Android platform, and analysis of stored patient data must be done manually. The first stage of the project will be complete when we have: (1) developed a web-app that allows therapists to complete data entry more simply, (2) expanded the platform to support iOS, and (3) developed a server-based back-end for secure data storage and automated data analytics. The second stage of the project will focus on a large-scale clinical trial of MindMe. We will fund clinical research staff from Weill-Cornell Medical College to conduct a randomized controlled trial of MindMe on individuals with Major Depressive Disorder. This will determine its efficacy in decreasing the incidence and severity of suicidal thoughts, ideation ad acts.

Meet the Team

David Putrino
David Putrino
Assistant Professor

Affiliates

Winifred Masterson Burke Medical Research Institute; Weill-Cornell Medical College
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David Harary
David Harary
Researcher

Affiliates

Winifred Masterson Burke Medical Research Institute
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Frank Fleming
Frank Fleming
Managing Director

Affiliates

McGill University
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Neven Boyanov
Neven Boyanov
Entrepreneur

Affiliates

Veliko Tarnovo University
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Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins
Researcher

Affiliates

Winifred Masterson Burke Medical Research Institute
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Dimitris Kiosses
Dimitris Kiosses
Associate Professor

Affiliates

Weill Cornell Medical College
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Anna Smeragliuolo
Anna Smeragliuolo
Research Fellow

Affiliates

Winifred Masterson Burke Medical Research Institute
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Team Bio

We are a collaborative team of mental health (Weill Cornell Medical College/New York Presbyterian Hospital), Telemedicine (Burke Medical Research Institute/Weill Cornell Medical College) and mobile software experts (Interlecta) who have come together with a goal to radically improve technology surrounding the field of suicide prevention. Every single member of our team is dedicated to the goal of improving access to a high standard of mental health care that everyone deserves.

David Putrino

I am a physical therapist with a PhD in Neuroscience. I have worked clinically in both private practice and hospital environments before moving to the United States to study computational neuroscience at Harvard Medical School and MIT. I also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University, designing prostheses for Brain Machine Interface devices. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Director of Telemedicine and Virtual Rehabilitation at Burke Medical Research Institute. In this position, I work to develop low-cost and accessible healthcare solutions for individuals in need of better healthcare accessibility. I also consult for Red Bull High Performance, using state-of-the-art technology to monitor and enhance athlete performance. We try to promote the message that the methods and technology we use for high-performance athletes should be translated to individuals in need of rehabilitation. I am also the “Chief Mad Scientist” of Not Impossible Labs, a group that crowd-sources accessible technological solutions for high-impact humanitarian problems. All of my projects are centered around finding pragmatic and effective ways to deliver the standard of care that people need and deserve to recover from illness and injury. I am passionate about MindMe's ability to change the way that we approach suicide prevention and care for people with depression.



David Harary

I am passionate about using science to address public health concerns. Since joining Putrino Lab, I have become invested in addressing our society's unmet mental health needs. I am proud to not only be part of a research project where we can run a clinical study trying to help individuals at risk for suicide, but to share our scientific journey with a community who cares about this issue too—that's the beauty of crowdfunding science. Before working in David's lab, I graduated with a music degree from SUNY Stony Brook, a minor in chemistry and researched Parkinson's Disease in Dr. Mary Kritzer's lab.

Frank Fleming

I am the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Interlecta Mobile Innovations and SafetyCard360. I have 30 years of IT business development experience, the last 10 of which have been focused on the mobile industry. Prior to founding Interlecta I held positions at Global Crossing, IxNet, Network Associates, Rand McNally and ATT where I started my career. I hold a BA from McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Canada

Neven Boyanov

I am a co-founder of Interlecta and the TelePsych Alliance and currently serve as director of product and software development. We have developed the beta version of MindMe for pilot studies under the leadership of the Putrino Lab and Dr Dimitris Kiosses. I am responsible for driving technology innovation so that our products are reliable in high stake clinical environments.

I have 17 years of experience as a computer engineer and I hold masters degrees in mathematics and computer science from St. St. Cyril and Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo, where I am now a frequent guest lecturer on topics such as mobile and communication technologies and machine translation.

I am currently working on my doctoral dissertations in the field of computer security, embedded devices and the Internet of Things.

Lucas Martins

I graduated from SUNY Stony Brook with a BS in Biology and a specialization in Neuroscience. I have completed clinical research projects for Post-Stroke Apathy and Parkinson's Disease, but accessible mental health care is a cause that gives me direction and purpose. Through personal experience I have come to know the shortcomings and disparity among medical treatment in our society. Being raised by a single mother in low socioeconomic areas, as well as witnessing the burden of addiction, epilepsy, and depression on my family, has vastly affected my life. I remember numerous times when my mother and I forwent medical treatment due to expenses or when medical treatment was not conducive to effective treatment. The lack of a basic human right such as accessible healthcare, especially in the mental health field, is unacceptable and I am proud to have the opportunity to make a change.



Dimitris Kiosses

I am an Associate Professor of Psychology from the Department of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. I have been a practicing clinical psychologist at the Weill Cornell Medicine and Weill Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry since 1997. My research interests focus on the development of psychosocial interventions for middle-aged and older adults with depression as well as for those with treatment resistant depression and those who are at risk for suicide. I have developed a novel therapy for emotion regulation called Problem Adaptation Therapy (PATH) and have published on PATH's efficacy to reduce depression and improve disability in major, peer-reviewed psychiatric and geriatric journals. In a recent study, we observed that PATH reduced suicidal ideation in older adults with depression and cognitive impairment. MindMe utilizes the principles of PATH to provide at-risk individuals with personalized strategies to deal with negative emotions as they occur on a daily basis outside of therapy. The integration of mobile health techniques with the field of psychology to help reduce suicidal ideation are very exciting. We hope that this project will have the potential to positively impact the lives of a growing number of people who currently live with depression and suicidal ideation.

Anna Smeragliuolo

I am an animator and graphic designer with a B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. I have combined these seemingly disparate interests in endeavors ranging from 3D molecular visualization to EEG performance art. My research focus centers on incorporating thoughtful design and improved visual literacy into the practice of science in order to broaden the dissemination of scientific understanding. MindMe is a project that became incredibly close to my heart after my father's death by suicide this past Christmas. Accordingly, I am extremely passionate about mental health awareness and suicide prevention. My father spent his career as a social worker, teaching and treating adolescents with behavioral disorders. Please help me carry on his legacy of good work by donating to our cause.


Project Backers

  • 295Backers
  • 23%Funded
  • $22,690Total Donations
  • $76.92Average Donation
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