Wear your heart on your sleeve

Antoinette Pavithra Noel

Research output: Contribution to Newspaper/Magazine/WebsiteArticle


Mental health wearable devices might help users, but they also raise ethical concerns around the collecting of psychophysiological data.

Over the last decade, the intersection of market dynamics, technological progress and health trends have resulted in the mental health “industry” being reinvented to place more control in the hands of patient-consumers via wearable devices. Categories such as stress, anxiety and depression have coalesced into a sliding scale of stress states that can be monitored and transformed, through the mediation of devices.
I explore the factors that have influenced the adoption of a range of wearable devices in mental health tracking and interventions, for conditions ranging from the stresses of urban living to neurodiverse states such as autism. Drawing on original research using ethnographic methods supplemented by interviews with health practitioners and device designers, I trace the shift in how mental well being and ill health are marketed, measured and mended through the creation and use of wearables.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationAnthropology News
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2018


  • wearable
  • mental health
  • health intervention technology
  • data
  • big data
  • surveillance
  • dataveillance
  • self-monitoring


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