Wellbeing

How Is The World Feeling? Join A Global Real-Time Mental Health Survey

Whether you’re feeling anxious, happy or sad – or angry because your housemate decides to talk through Gogglebox again even though you specifically said you were excited to watch it – it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one going through these emotions. But this Mental Health Awareness Week (from 10 to 16 October) you can take part in the world’s largest real-time mental health survey and literally see how the world is feeling, so you have proof that you’re not alone.

How Is The World Feeling? is an app-based research initiative started by suicide prevention not-for-profit Spur Projects. The app’s goal is to have seven million participants from all over the globe track their emotions over a week. This has a two-fold effect: #1 It can serve as a conversation starter around mental health-related issues, and #2 It is a data goldmine.

Seven people commit suicide every single day in Australia, and over 800,000 people die by suicide annually. The campaign will help create more effective mental health initiatives by not only understanding how people are feeling, but more importantly, when and how they experience these feelings.

Campaign manager Lee Crockford says the type of insight the survey can provide includes, for example, that “Young men working in law are feeling most anxious between the hours of 8 to 10am on weekday mornings when commuting”.

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The website says, “A major contributing factor to poor mental health and suicide is a feeling of isolation. The ability to see, in real-time, how 7 million people are feeling normalises the extremely broad range of emotions that are experienced every second of every day.” Therefore, I am likely justified in my TV-related rage. Thank you for this gift.

After participants log how they’re feeling, they can then use the app to also see how the rest of the world is feeling – and you can filter the data based location, gender, age, and a range of other parameters. Want to know how 25-year-olds in New York are getting on? Sure, no problem.

All information collected will also be made open-source for any individual or organisation worldwide to utilise. But don’t worry about privacy. Crockford points out that privacy is of primary importance to the project and no personally-identifiable information is shared.

This initiative is not only creative, it’s needed. Help Spur Projects facilitate the largest amount of data-based insight into our mental health we’ve seen so far. Download the app (iOS hereandroid here) and have a play, it well could lead to saving someone’s life.