People with depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns face many options to try and ease their symptoms, from talk therapy and medication to movement, sleep and mindfulness.

However, finding an option or combination that works can take months or years for each person, because no one combination has proven best across the board. And it can take weeks to tell if a mental health treatment is helping or not.

Plus, the process of searching for an effective combination only starts after someone finds a mental health care provider who has appointments available and accepts their insurance.

All of this means lost time, money and – in the most serious cases – loss of life.

A new $17.9M grant to University of Michigan researchers aims to change that.

The team will enroll thousands of patient volunteers by invitation in the period before they start mental health care at U-M Health. The new study is called COMPASS, for Comprehensive Mobile Precision Approach for Scalable Solutions in Mental Health Treatment.

The COMPASS team will harness massive amounts of mobile technology, genomic, behavioral and electronic health record data to create decision aids that they hope will make it easier to predict which approaches will work best for an individual.

Their goal: the same kind of precision for mental health care that patients and providers already have for the treatment of many types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more.

The new grant comes from the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health. It recognizes the promise shown in previous U-M research involving a smaller group of people.

Read the full release