Frequently Asked Questions

How do you use my data?

We use your data to build datasets to enable scientific research that we hope will enhance human understanding of mental health, and most importantly to directly empower interventions. Scientific breakthroughs are often based on collaboration, and that depends on having a common data set. We are thankful and thrilled that you want to help us.

What data are you talking about?

We currently collect messages posted publicly to family and friends on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (not private or direct messages). We don't cover every social media platform and data source yet, but we are working to expand what can be donated. We plan to expand the types of data you can donate in the future (to include things like email). If you sign up, we will update you as we add other networks and data sources.

How can my donation be most effective?

Connect as many networks as possible and complete the questionnaire. The more networks you can connect, the more useful your data is to us. Facebook data is useful, but it only paints part of the picture. Facebook and Twitter is better; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is better still. Our algorithms depend on having many views on a person's life, each additional source makes your donation more useful.

That's only half the story though, knowing more about your mental health is critical to understanding what the data is showing. Filling out the questionnaire as best you can will make your donation most effective.

I am not challenged by a mental health condition. Do you still want my data?

Yes! Scientific studies and algorithms alike need a comparison group to highlight what is important and relevant. In particular, when someone who matches your demographics is challenged by a mental health condition, your data provides an invaluable point of comparison. Your data empowers solutions and insight too.

Will you post any messages to my social media accounts?

No. We use this data only to better understand how mental health can be quantified by analysis of the data each of us generates every day. Whenever possible, we opt for the most restrictive set of authorizations required to read the data needed for this research. We will never seek the ability to add content to your social media account.

Why?

We are scientists, advocates, and researchers interested in shaping the future of mental health research with the ability to make it happen. Usable data is hard to come by. The more sensitive the subject, often the more difficult it is to get helpful data. We hope this research will lead to discoveries that lead to breakthrough treatments. It is possible that if we get enough individual donors that the potential of having access to the data alone could attract interest from other prominent researchers.

I am concerned about my privacy. How do you keep my questionnaire responses private?

All of the information you provide will be confidential. Your name will not be used in the research; you will be assigned a study code. We will do our very best to be sure that only the researchers see the study data. We will keep all study information in locked or encrypted files that only the researchers can access. We use methods to protect your data that are similar to social media networks that you provide us access to (e.g., Twitter or Facebook). All data are stored in an encrypted manner. Confidentiality of your data will be protected to the extent possible under existing regulations and laws. Although no system is entirely safe from compromise, we have taken all reasonable precautions to protect your confidentiality. The only individuals who will have access to your data include members of the research team at the University of Washington and Qntfy.

How personal are the survey questions you’ll ask me? What type of questions will the survey ask?

This study is voluntary. There are risks present when considering participating in this study. Answering questions about your mental health may make you feel uncomfortable in the short term. The most personal questions are about things you may have done to hurt yourself or someone else. If something makes you upset, you may stop the study at any time. You can also talk with the research team about any distress you experience and they will inform you about resources available to help.

Are there any benefits to being in the study?

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the US. We hope that the results of this study will help provide a new way to best to help high schoolers at risk for suicide. You may find you like knowing that being in the study might help other teens. You may also find you learn about yourself through completion of the study procedures. If you at stressed, we may help you find ways to decrease your stress or connect with a mental health therapist.

Is there an incentive for being in the study?

If you choose to participate, we will give you a $30 gift card.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

If you have questions about the research study, please contact the ASSESS Team at uwassess@uw.edu If I have questions about your rights as a research subject, you can call the Human Subjects Division at (206) 543-0098.