Bell Let’s Talk Day and the potential to close existing patient data gaps
January 29, 2019

Bell Let’s Talk Day and the potential to close existing patient data gaps

Through initiatives like Bell Let’s Talk Day, funds are raised to help subsidize research applications.

Bell Let’s Talk Day was started in 2010 to raise funds for mental health organizations across Canada with the goal of creating a stigma-free country. It runs every year on January 30th and to date has raised more than $90 million.

The Mental Health Commission estimates that in any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem with a total cost to the economy of more than $50 billion. Over the next 30 years, they speculate that the total cost to the Canadian economy will eclipse $2.5 trillion.

Currently, there is a huge gap nationally when it comes to the existence of Real-World Data (RWD) for mental health. In fact, for more than a decade, key mental health stakeholders have expressed a need for more readily available, comprehensive and useful data.

While many organizations – such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Research – have incorporated mental health information-related initiatives within their mandates, there is no single organization dedicated to gathering and reporting on mental health at a national level. Because of this, there is a siloed approach to acquiring mental health data and this has created data gaps.

Opportunity for patient-generated data

Mindfulness and mental health apps have expanded rapidly in recent years and this burgeoning market creates a significant chance to expand the patient-generated RWD.

Not only is technology poised to transform mental health treatments, but it can also work to fill the data gaps that exist in our current health system. For example, research from the MIT Media Lab suggests that mental health apps that track mood, sleep and sociability can help monitor the symptoms of depression. These data could provide new insights into behavior patterns preceding a depressive episode with the opportunity for a mental health professional to intervene. With the increased RWD from mental health apps, both policymakers and businesses invested in the mental health industry could have access to data that could help influence decisions and move the industry forward.

An important requirement for stakeholders to help understand and treat mental health issues is the ability to create, share and access data. These data are critical to understanding the mental health needs of Canadians and what approaches decision-makers and organizations will need to take in order to properly address those needs. Patient-generated RWD from apps is a huge opportunity for stakeholders.

Bell Let’s Talk Day

As Bell Let’s Talk Day approaches, organizers will look to build on their four pillars that include anti-stigma, care and access, workplace health and research. Through their campaigns, they understand that research holds the greatest promise to understanding risk-factors and treatments surrounding mental health. This increased approach to awareness and research will help to grow patient-generated data for the future.

For more information on Bell Let’s Talk Day check out their website, or download their Toolkit to help spread the word.

About Medlior

At Medlior our seasoned biostatisticians and epidemiologists use de-identified patient data from provincial health systems to address a variety of research questions. We evaluate and observe the safety and effectiveness of therapies, explore the burden of disease, inform health technology assessments, and much more.

Each member of the Medlior team holds an advanced degree, which is paired with relevant work experience from academia, the health system, consulting and/or the pharmaceutical industry for a clear advantage in conducting health outcomes research. Our diverse team ensures that every Medlior project provides meaningful insights.

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