SITUATE receives an Early Concept Development Award from the Wellcome Trust

Through the University of Glasgow’s Translational Research Initiative, Lawrence Barsalou and Christoph Scheepers have received an Early Concept Development Award from the Wellcome Trust for a project entitled, “Implementing and evaluating a prototype of the SITUATE digital health platform.”  Funds from this grant will support building a SITUATE prototype and assessing it in focus groups of end users and mental health professionals.  Should this proof-of-concept work be successful, more ambitious attempts to develop and distribute SITUATE will follow.

Abstract.  With support from University of Glasgow’s Research and Innovation Services, we developed a commercial project within the framework of the ARC Accelerator Program.  In this project, we designed a digital health tool, SITUATE, that offers a novel precision medicine resource for helping individuals work with a wide variety of health and social behaviours.

Although the rates of behavioural problems have skyrocketed since the pandemic, they were already high beforehand and will undoubtedly continue to remain high indefinitely.  Should SITUATE prove to be an effective tool, it would offer a scalable source of intervention for helping diverse groups of clients.  Because SITUATE requires minimal professional supervision, it could also help take pressure off health care professionals with overwhelming caseloads.  It also has significant potential for use in task-sharing public health networks, where minimally trained individuals distribute a health tool effectively to other community members (e.g., in the Red Cross / Red Crescent).

To date, we have developed the assessment component of SITUATE extensively in the domains of stress, eating, drinking, trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), loneliness, and emotion.  We understand SITUATE’s assessment properties well and have much of the relevant software in place.

Recently, we have begun to see how SITUATE’s assessment component could be extended into additional domains, including sustainability, suicidal tendences, hypertension, racism, sectarianism, and trust.  Most recently, we have begun exploring SITUATE’s potential as a training and intervention tool.  Besides collecting preliminary data related to training, we have developed a detailed design of a SITUATE prototype that integrates assessment, instruction, habit training, performance monitoring, and feedback in a single platform (through client devices linked with a cloud host).  We aim to build and begin evaluating this prototype in the coming year.