How data science can advance mental health research



Russ TC, Woelbert E, Davis KAS, Hafferty JD, Ibrahim Z, Inkster B, John A, Lee W, Maxwell M, McIntosh AM & Stewart R (2019) How data science can advance mental health research. Nature Human Behaviour, 3, pp. 24-32.

Accessibility of powerful computers and availability of so-called "big data" from a variety of sources means that data science approaches are becoming pervasive. However, their application in mental health research is often considered to be at an earlier stage than in other areas despite the complexity of mental health and illness making such a sophisticated approach particularly suitable. In this article we discuss current and potential applications of data science in mental health research using the UK Clinical Research Collaboration classification: underpinning research; aetiology; detection and diagnosis; treatment development; treatment evaluation; disease management; and health services research. We demonstrate that data science is already being widely applied in mental health research, but there is much more to be done now and in the future. The possibilities for data science in mental health research are substantial.

Data science; mental health; data mining;

Additional co-authors: MQ Data Science group

Nature Human Behaviour: Volume 3

FundersBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Publication date31/12/2019
Publication date online10/12/2018
Date accepted by journal11/10/2018

People (1)


Professor Margaret Maxwell
Professor Margaret Maxwell

Director of NMAHP Research Unit, NMAHP