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In brief: It's no surprise that cases of depression and anxiety have increased since the start of the pandemic. Isolation, fear, loneliness, and lockdowns can erode even the strongest person's mental health, but a wearable could benefit those who can't or won't seek help.
Called the Moodbeam, the device features just two buttons—one for recording whenever you feel happy (yellow) and the other for sad moments (blue). It's the work of a UK based firm, also called Moodbeam.
By logging the different times of day when users feel sudden changes in their emotional state, the wristband and accompanying app can show patterns and trends, allowing wearers to identify situations that cause negative feelings.
A potentially better use of the technology is sharing user information with family and friends. Many people aren't comfortable admitting they're struggling mentally, but the Moodbeam could help them connect with others without asking for help directly.
The wearable is also positioned as a way for companies to (optionally) monitor the wellbeing of staff working from home who may be experiencing isolation and loneliness. "Businesses are trying to get on top of staying connected with staff working from home. Here they can ask 500 members: 'You ok?' without picking up the phone," Moodbeam co-founder Christina Colmer McHugh told the BBC.
Moodbeam has applications beyond remote office workers
Launched back in 2016, Colmer came up with Moodbeam after discovering her daughter was struggling at school and wanted a way for her child to let her know how she was feeling. The device was thrust under the spotlight recently as the pandemic brought more mental health concerns.
While the £50 ($67) Moodbeam's primary function could be replicated using an app or smartwatch, its simplicity will likely appeal to older society members and busy workers.
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