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Apple Watch update will help people track their mental health

Image of someone wearing an Apple Watch
Anna Shvets | Pexels

By Susannah Hollywood

A future update to Apple Watch software will let people keep tabs on their mood and emotions, and provide insights into factors affecting their mental health

Digital health solutions are now an integral part of many people’s lives, transforming healthcare delivery and empowering individuals to take control of their own wellbeing.

Apple watches are well established in providing innovative health-tracking functions. These include helping you to manage sleep, monitor heart rate and receive reminders to take medication.

To date, however, these technologies have predominantly focused on physical health rather than mental health, despite the clear importance of both.

Now Apple’s latest watch software (watchOS10) looks set to change that, with the introduction of a new mental health tracking tool.

This ‘State of Mind’ tool allows users to log how they are feeling, both their momentary emotions and the overall daily mood they are experiencing.

Scrolling through a series of colourful visuals, users can choose from a range of states from ‘very unpleasant’ to ‘very pleasant’.




Prompts are then given to identify factors most affecting this state, with categories such as ‘family’ or ‘travel’.

Lastly, there is a choice of words for the user to choose from to describe their feelings, such as ‘amazed’, ‘grateful’ or ‘worried’.

State of Mind gathers information about mood, exercise, sleep and time in daylight to formulate actionable insights.

Once logged, this information can then be viewed within the ‘Health’ app, alongside details of other lifestyle factors, such as sleep and exercise.

By combining these behaviours and states of mind, Apple hopes that users will gain valuable insight into how these factors influence each other.

Notifications can be set to prompt users to regularly log this information, helping them to identify patterns over time.

Also accessible via the updated ‘Health’ app will be anxiety and depression assessments, which evaluate a user’s level of risk for these conditions.

A high level of risk identified would result in prompting to seek medical advice.

Help is also given to connect to local resources and a PDF of results can be created to share with Health Professionals.

Sumbul Desai, Apple’s vice president of Health, states that "These insights help support users in their daily decisions and offer more informed conversations with their doctors" and that Apple’s goal with these new health updates is "to empower people to take charge of their own health journey."

These latest features will be available from autumn 2023 on Apple watches with the iOS10 software and on iPhones and iPads with iOS17 and iPadOS17 software versions.


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