Next Week You Can Take Part in a Worldwide Mental Health Survey

Want to spend a week tracking your mood and contributing to a massive mental health data set? You might want to take a look at How Is The World Feeling? (HITWF).

It’s a project taking place next week, designed to collect useful information about our moods. All our moods – everywhere. Spur Projects, the suicide-prevention organization running the survey, and has a goal of collecting over 70 million emotions worldwide in a week.

From October 10 – 16, users who download the project’s app on iOS or Android can check in with their moods, adding their current activity and whether they’re alone or with others. The data collected will be added to a global open-source data set that Spur hopes will be able to offer insights like “Men between the ages of 18-22 are most anxious on weekday mornings between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. when commuting to work, whereas women tend to peak in anxiety in the middle of the day and more prominently at the start of the week.”

Spur has three goals for the project. The first is to start a conversation about mental health – one that’s based on facts, not assumptions.

A major contributing factor to poor mental health and suicide is a feeling of isolation. The ability to see, in real-time, how 7 million people are feeling normalises the extremely broad range of emotions that are experienced every second of every day.

Despite the increase in awareness of mental health over the past several years, there’s still a long way to go before mental health conversations are the norm. We think everyone taking part in the world’s largest mental health project is a pretty good conversation starter.


The team’s second goal is to provide participants with a useful tool for mood tracking. The HITWF app allows users to view their own mood data over time. If a participant logs a pattern of emotions that may need addressing, Spur says that the app will automatically suggest localized tools and resources. And while the survey ends after the 16th, the app will continue to be usable as a mood tracker.

The team’s final goal is its most ambitious: to create a huge, useful, and accessible data set on emotion.

This level of data and insight is invaluable to mental health organisations, business and government – helping them to create more effective, targeted resources and tools.

“How is the World Feeling?” is the largest democratic mental health survey in the world – with the aim of collecting over 70 million emotions. Access to such a large, international set of data means unprecedented understanding of mental health across an extremely vast range of demographics and geography.

All data is completely open-source, meaning any individual, NGO or business can utilise the information gathered. It should be noted that no personally-identifiable information is collected from any participant.

It could be an exciting project to be part of, and the data hack event to follow two weeks after the survey may well come up with interesting insights and applications.

There is a major caveat to consider, though. How Is The World Feeling? is a survey, not a study. You aren’t required to give informed consent before participating. While Spur Projects promises that personally identifying information will not be shared, they do ask for information about your social accounts and location along with demographic and mood data. If any of this worries you, it may be best not to participate. There are many other tools out there, both digital and analog, if you want to track your mood without participating in the survey.

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