Challenge

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Mental Illness in the US, How To Help

Depression is among the most serious health problems facing our society, causing untold human suffering and enormous economic costs. Despite its prevalence, depression is misunderstood, under-funded and under-researched. What is needed is not simply more drugs, but new therapeutic approaches that are based on a fundamental understanding of the brain’s complex mood centers.
50M
People Impacted
$ 1.7T
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

Depression is among the most serious health problems facing our society, causing untold human suffering and enormous economic costs. Despite its prevalence, depression is misunderstood, under-funded and under-researched. Current treatments for depression remain severely limited. Since the introduction of Prozac nearly 30 years ago, there have been no new categories of antidepressants, only variations of the existing SSRIs and SNRIs (targeting serotonin and norepinephrine, only two of hundreds of neurotransmitters). Yet over 50% of depressed individuals do not respond to any type of existing medications, or various types of therapy, according to a recent major study (STAR*D, Rush et al, 2006.)  In fact, they become worse with repeated episodes of depression. Those that do respond to existing medications often experience troublesome side effects. What is needed is not simply more “me-too” drugs, but new therapeutic approaches that are based on a fundamental understanding of the brain’s complex mood centers.

It's important to create not only a community to support those having difficulty controlling their mood, but also to give users data regarding their emotional health, eventually empowering them to have more understanding and control over the issues that drive emotional well-being.

the impact
Economic Impact
  • $210.5 Billion - lost earnings per year due to mental illness

ideas
Ideas Description

MoodPanda is a website that allows users to track their moods and update personal diaries online. There is an app which can be downloaded so users can update their moods and concerns while mobile, and receive advice and support from other community members. The aim of MoodPanda is to create not only a community to support those having difficulty controlling their mood, but also to give users data regarding their emotional health, eventually empowering them to have more understanding and control over the issues that drive emotional well-being.

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