Humin is building a wellbeing app that can track mood using behavioural signals from smartphones, to support better self-management.
- Aims to increase user awareness and knowledge around their personal mental health patterns and increase motivation on self-management.
- Aims to increase engagement and adherence to treatment in mood disorders to reduce related hospitalisation costs and the demand on outpatient mental health services.
- Aims to support users’ families and clinicians by reducing communication barriers when supporting mental health experiences.
Min Lee is the co-founder of Humin and a user researcher at NHS England, who joined the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme in 2022.
Founded in 2021, Humin is building a wellbeing app that can track mood passively and identify mood patterns using behavioural signals from a smartphone, to support people experiencing low/ high mood, such as depression and bipolar disorder.
Smarter, Easier Mood Tracking.
Min Lee communicated that mental illnesses place one of the biggest burdens on current society, with depression and bipolar disorder costing the NHS over 342 million pounds every year. With first-hand experience living with an eating disorder and working for a company that helped to bring psychedelic therapies to people suffering from severe depression, Min felt a strong responsibility in helping to solve the mental health challenges currently faced within the NHS.
Whilst communicating with clinicians, Min found that mood and symptom tracking is one of the first recommendations suggested for people experiencing difficulties around mood, because this is crucial to help suggest better care decisions including earlier diagnosis, earlier interventions, and personalised treatments.
“People find it almost impossible to maintain mood tracking according to our user research (201 participants). Current mood-tracking tools are fully reliant on manual input which is burdensome, unsustainable, and biased – and these pain points are made worse for children and those with more severe mood symptoms. For example, if a patient was experiencing a severe depressive episode where they were finding it difficult to move out of bed to go to the toilet, they would be highly unlikely to open a mood tracker sheet and record their mood manually.”Min Lee
The user research findings concluded that a core problem was that there is no easy, sustainable, and reliable way to keep track of mental health, and this led to the concept of Humin.
Humin is building a Fitbit for mental health, with a mission to bring personalised insights using AI-powered technologies, to help people look after their mental health more easily and effectively.
‘’Our innovation targets a core problem underlying psychiatry, and we are developing a mobile app for people to track mental health symptoms passively, using their anonymised smartphone data. To begin, we are focusing our efforts on meeting the needs of people experiencing significant low/high mood symptoms which may often include those with bipolar disorder and depression.’’Humin Team
Humin aims to provide objective data that is not emotionally biased or distorted from members memory, so that users can understand their mental health patterns with confidence, to support self-awareness and self-management.
The team was developed to be user-centric by having a clinician and patient representatives embedded within the team, alongside a user group of 15 people. They are utilising digital phenotyping to allow the data to be captured in real-time and have built interactive prototypes which are ready for usability testing and iterating.
The proof of concept (5 Participants) resulted in a 7/10 average user satisfaction rate for monthly mental health insights derived from passive markers and initially developed machine learning models.
In addition, the team launched their mental health podcast in 2023 and have currently reached over 18k views. The podcast includes real stories of mental health struggles and recovery, real-life tips for self-care and advice on how to be a compassionate friend, colleague, family member or partner.
‘1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year’- Mind.
The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme has supported Min Lee with access to an invaluable network of people, which includes mentors, founders and senior leaders. It has also provided subject matter expert support for pitching and public speaking skills and visibility of the startup environment within the NHS community setting.
‘’From exposure to incredible mentors who have given me encouragement, support, and direction, to the opportunity to network with other innovators, my experience on the NHS CEP has been motivating and inspiring.
The NHS CEP provides practical advice and guidance from individuals who have been through the same journey as you and this can be helpful to avoid mistakes and challenges.
I have learned so many key lessons and I would personally encourage innovators to proactively seek advice from credible sources, build a team that solves problems rather than strokes your ego, show people who you are as a person and they will trust the brand more, choose accelerators carefully by understanding what your company specifically needs and the most important piece of advice for those starting is to not wait and start today!
This is a precious programme, and I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply but be ready to engage proactively and be a part of the community to make the most out of the opportunity.’’Min Lee
What is your key piece of health and wellbeing advice?
‘’Work on a genuine, unwavering belief in self-worth and self-love. “To love yourself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde’’Min Lee
How has the programme supported your innovation around health and wellbeing?
‘’The programme has supported me as a person/founder before my innovation. There is a caring and nurturing culture within the programme.
I have also been supported with a strong mentorship network around health and well-being – I have met two mentors who have added significant strategic value to my development, from the health & wellness industry.
Finally, the programme has provided opportunities to pitch and share our story with a wider audience.’’Min Lee
Looking to the future
Humin’s priority this year is to get their minimum viable product iterated and tested, to then explore opportunities to run a pilot and assess the need for fundraising.
The team are looking to work with a senior lead from IEEE and a mental health charity and would love to hear from mental health trusts or clinics that would be able to support a potential pilot study in a small group.
‘’If you have mental health experiences/stories to share, please contact us as we have a mental health podcast, and we’d love to hear from you. If you would like to get access to our mood-tracking app, please visit our website below. There is also an opportunity to sign-up as a user advisor to take part in interesting design and usability tests.’’Min Lee
For more information, please click on the links below.
TRANSFORMING HEALTHCARE THROUGH INNOVATION