Combining Mental Health Treatment with Physiological Biomarker Monitoring to Reduce Risk of Depression

Scientists from Labfront and ThoughtFull came together to launch Project Cheria: a research study that combined mental health therapy with digital biomarker monitoring to help better understand depression.

About this study
Stanford WELL for Life Wearable Pilot Study
Metrics Collected Icon
Metrics Collected
Stress, Sleep, HRV
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Device Used
Vivosmart 4
Number of Participants Icon
# of Participants
120
Duration of study icon
Duration of study
60 days
Joan Low
ThoughtFull CEO
About this study
Project Cheria
Metrics Collected Icon
Metrics Collected
Activity, Sleep, Stress, HRV
Device Used icon
Device Used
Garmin Venu SQ
Number of Participants Icon
# of Participants
100
Duration of study icon
Duration of study
90 days
Joan Low, ThoughtFull CEO
Joan Low
ThoughtFull CEO

Study Background

According to a recent report  by the WHO, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a 25% rise in depression and anxiety worldwide. Despite being a major cause of disability impacting over 280 million people today, there is still much to be learned about this widespread condition. In early 2021, at the height of the pandemic, Labfront and ThoughtFull  decided to work together to launch a study that would help combine therapy with physiological data monitoring to see just how individuals were responding to treatment.

ThoughtFull, an organization based out of Singapore, pairs users to a mental health professional. The service provides an evidence-based approach that empowers users to proactively learn about and engage with their mental wellness and build resilience on the go. Their ThoughtFullChat app allows individuals to check in with a mental health professional at any time of the day.

“Understanding that much of mental health insights are still heavily reliant on subjective data, ThoughtFull wanted to enhance our clinician's ability to delve deeper into their clients' wellbeing and progress by integrating objective data into their intervention methodology, " said Joan Low, ThoughtFull CEO. "LabFront's platform coupled with the Garmin wearable were the best options for in-depth data collection and analysis to achieve the intended outcomes.”

ThoughtFull wanted to enhance our clinician's ability to delve deeper into their clients' wellbeing and progress by integrating objective data into their intervention methodology.

ThoughtFullChat App and Venu SQ

Research Protocol

In this study, 100 participants were assigned to a mental health professional through the ThoughtFullChat app and were encouraged to reach out for support as often as possible, over a period of 3 months. They were also expected to check in with their wellness coaches once a month, and were asked to complete regular wellness surveys in order to track their progress via self-reporting.

Additionally, participants were each given a Garmin Venu SQ  to wear 24hrs/day over the course of the study, and were asked to sync their apps daily in order for the researchers to have continuous access to their physiological data.


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Adherence Success

With the entirety of the study taking place remotely, and with a somewhat labor-intensive protocol (including the adoption of largely unfamiliar smartwatch technologies), participant adherence was an initial worry. There was no need for that, however, as participant adherence managed to remain above 90% throughout the majority of the study duration! With virtual onboarding, mental health therapy, coaching and technological support, participants were able to fulfill their roles, participating eagerly to ensure the study was a success! 


While the data collection phase of Project Cheria has recently finished, the data scientists are still sifting through and processing all of that biomarker as well as self-reported data; however, we will be sharing insights and findings as soon as they are made available, so stay tuned!

Last medically reviewed Date
Aug 5, 2022
Joan Low
Joan Low
Founder and CEO, ThoughtFull

Joan Low is the Founder and CEO of ThoughtFull. ThoughtFull is Asia’s pioneering digital mental health company that partners with employers, insurers, and pharmas to bring seamless access to end-to-end mental healthcare for all. They closed their Seed round oversubscribed at USD1.1m and is the first Asian mental health startup to forge a partnership with pharma, Pfizer Singapore. Over the years, they’ve built deep partnerships with clients such as AIA and StarHub to bring greater employee mental wellbeing to all. Prior to ThoughtFull, Joan was a banker at JP Morgan, Hong Kong, managing a portfolio of USD1.3 billion. She covered the North Asian markets and was on the pioneering team that built the Private Bank’s offering for hedge fund and private equity clients in Asia. Today, Joan’s mission is anchored by her real-world experience as a mental health caregiver for more than 20 years and driven by her diverse experience working and living across the globe - from the US, Canada, France, China, Hong Kong, and now back to home turf in Southeast Asia.

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“Now, more than ever, we need tools like Labfront that can help researchers take their research and data collection virtual.”
Dr. Gloria Yeh
Dr. Gloria Yeh, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
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“The Labfront team was extremely responsive to our requests and made every effort to accommodate our unique needs.”
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Yogev Kivity, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer of Psychology, Bar Ilan University
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"Labfront's analysts understood our needs as researchers and saved us weeks of work when they prepared our datasets for analysis."
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Bryan Edwards, Professor, Joe Synar Chair
Management Department, Oklahoma State University
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“The physiological data really helped provide deeper insights.  We recommend Labfront and will definitely be using it again!”
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Dr. Kristin Scott, PhD
Professor of Business, Clemson University
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