S3: #021: Dr. Arshya Vahabzadeh on Developing and Applying Technology in Mental Health

Digital Health Today 360° with Dan Kendall

S3: #021: Dr. Arshya Vahabzadeh on Developing and Applying Technology in Mental Health

How Technology is Redefining How We Assess and Address Mental Health and Mental Illness
April 24, 2017

S3: #021: Dr. Arshya Vahabzadeh on Developing and Applying Technology in Mental Health

In this episode of Digital Health Today, we’re going to switch things up and talk about something that needs more attention and resources: mental health. It’s being talked about more and more as we break down the barriers and stigma associated with mental health and mental illness, and to get this conversation started on this program, I went directly to one of the leaders I had the opportunity to meet several times last year. That leader is Dr. Arshya Vahabzadeh, he is a psychiatrist and Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He’s also the innovation officer at Massachusetts General Hospital, Chief Medical Officer of Brain Power – a wearables company focused on developing solutions for children and adults with autism.

He was raised in England and he moved to the United States to pursue his dream of leveraging clinical neuroscience to improve the treatment of people with brain disorders. He is a graduate of Singularity University and he speaks at conferences around the world – I’ve included a few videos of those talks at Exponential Medicine below. Dr. Vahabzadeh was recognized as a ‘40 under 40’ top innovator in 2015, and is working to bring exponential transformational change for global mental health.


Just as I was working to put the final touches on this podcast and release it, some news hit the headlines in the UK about a podcast that Prince Harry did where he spoke about his own personal challenges dealing with the death of his mother. It was a powerful podcast and he was very candid about how the approach he took early in life really caused him to close down emotionally, and how therapy helped him process things and develop a much better mental state. It is so key to have respected leaders on the world stage speaking candidly and openly about the importance of mental health, and I applaud and thank Prince Harry, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for having the courage to share that in his interview. There are a couple links below you should check out showing why and what they’re doing to raise the profile of mental health.


Today’s Topics:

  • Defining Mental Health, Mental Wellness and Mental Illness
  • The cost of mental health and mental illness
  • The subjective nature of diagnosing mental illness
  • The challenges and obstacles of getting help to where it is needed
  • The top technologies being developed for mental health applications
  • How regulators are approaching technologies for mental health and wellness
  • What people should do to help themselves or people they care about get the help they need

More about Arshya:


Links and Resources Mentioned:

  • Prince Harry Podcast Interview on Mental Health
  • Pavlok – a wearable device that helps users reduce cravings & break bad habits
  • Pear Therapeutics – Digital therapeutics for enhanced clinical outcomes
  • AICure – clinically validated artificial intelligence platform visually confirms medication ingestion.
  • Brain-Power – empowering children and adults all along the autism spectrum to teach themselves practical life skills, and assess their progress numerically
  • Signal App – Communicate instantly without SMS fees
  • Psychology Today – Find a therapist

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