Mental Health Powered by Siri

Original article was published by Samuel Lee on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Mental Health Powered by Siri

As a PM en route, I thought that it might be cool to document my journey by posting my solutions to practice product design case studies. In this case study, I tried to design a mental health tracker that uses Siri.


Users need a quick and easy way for people to track their mental health.

Mental health is positively correlated with productivity and happiness. On the other hand, neglecting mental health can have some serious consequences. Siri can help people with the cumbersome task of tracking mental health, but also attack the problem of productivity at its root.


The mental health app industry has seen explosive growth in the past few years.

  • Mindfulness apps like Calm and Headspace won App of the Year on the App Store in 2017 and 2018.
  • Over 10 million adults in the US have unmet mental health needs. (Mental Health America (MHA))
  • 60% of MHA screeners had symptoms of moderate depression

With an outdated system for seeking mental health care, it’s no surprise that people are turning to apps on their devices for help. Siri, with its ease of use and robust natural language processing, seems to be perfectly positioned for this opportunity.


1. Allow users to increase emotional intelligence and self-awareness through quick and easy tracking of their mental health.

2. Make users happier and more productive

Target Users and their Pain Points:

In this section, we will illustrate our target users with personas. This user segment is still relatively young but rapidly growing.

John is a 22-year-old college grad. He is an engineer at a large tech corporation and is exhausted after work. He wants to reduce anxiety but feels stuck.

  • Pain Points: John struggles with mental health tracking that he can stick to. Typing is too cumbersome since he is exhausted after work. The few times he has stuck with an app, he was too tired to read over the reports.
  • Goal: John wants an effortless way to track his mental health. He wants insights to be handed to him weekly, so he doesn’t need to scroll through his entries.

Elaine is a 36-year-old that struggles with many mental health issues. She tries very hard to track her issues.

  • Pain Points: Elaine struggles to centralize all the data she gathered and to extract actionable insights.
  • Goal: Elaine wants a wide array of trackers that she can switch in and out. She also wants insights on her data delivered to her weekly and wants one centralized place to see all the data.


John and Elain are likely early adopters who expressed these key pain points:

  1. Make data input effortless
  2. Provide a variety of trackers for different mental health needs
  3. Give insights on the collected data in an intuitively packaged report


  1. Effortless data input: This can be done using Siri’s existing speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) tools
  2. Provide weekly/monthly insights and a place to view this information: A new “Mental Health” category in the Health app is an intuitive location for this data.
  3. Provide trackers for different conditions: After consulting with mental health care professionals and conducting A/B testing, we can determine which trackers are the most useful.

Design and User Experience:


  1. Reduce user friction and keyboard-based input
  2. Deliver an uncomplicated user experience
  3. Provide support for different mental health issues
  4. Create a location for users to view inputted information

User Journey

We will be using a simple mood and cognitive distortions tracker that helps mitigate mood swings.

**Cognitive distortions are negative biases/ automatic thoughts that people have in responses to events. Studies show that they lead to emotional and behavioral responses. Tracking/ recognizing when they happen is a great way to prevent mood swings. More info here. **

Step 1: Choose and learn about trackers

  1. Open the Health app provided by Apple.
  2. Under “Browse,” select the “Mental Health” section and review the 5–10 available trackers.
  3. Read descriptions and select appropriate tools. The user selects the “Mood and Cognitive Distortions tracker” to battle mood swings.

Step 2: Wake up Siri

  1. Voice: The user says “Hey Siri I want to track my mental health” to wake up Siri and bring up the list of mood trackers selected by the users.
  2. Manual: Hold the home/power button and do the same as above.

Step 3: Select tracker

  1. Siri prompts the user “Sure. Which do you want to track?” and lists the trackers the user has selected and also provides a simple UI with the list of tackers.
  2. The user selects the “Mood and Cognitive Distortions” tracker.

Step 4: Input Data

This section will differ based on the type of tracker the user selects.

  1. Siri prompts the user “How’s your mood?” and lists a few negative and positive moods for the user to select. The user can select one of the provided moods or say their own. Siri can understand if this mood is positive or negative.
  2. If a user selects a negative emotion/mood, Siri then prompts the user “Which cognitive distortion did you experience?” and lists a few common cognitive distortions (ex. mind-reading, magnification, polarization, etc.). Users can respond by voice or select by tapping.
  3. Users can also ask Siri to remind them of a cognitive distortion’s definition or they can view it by long-tapping the UI.

Step 5: Reports and Insights

  1. Siri will notify that the user can view some weekly insights through a popup or a notification on the lock screen.
  2. On click, the user will be taken to the Health app, where they can view trends based on the data Siri collected.
  3. Users can also view this data at any point by just visiting the health app.

From this particular tracker, we can calculate trends that show mood fluctuations throughout the day and show which cognitive distortions are tied to each. Wireframes are provided below.