MoodNetwork Study Opportunities

MoodNetwork study opportunities are studies that are designed by and for our community. Conducted within the MoodNetwork community, these studies can lead to more effective treatments for mood disorders, including new and alternative therapies. In the long run, the information from these studies will contribute to a pool of data large enough for researchers to figure out which treatments work best for which kind of mood disorders.

By participating in these studies and contributing your experience, concerns, and ideas, you will help evaluate existing treatments as well as weigh in on promising new approaches.

Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds: An Overview

Individuals with depression are four times more likely to die from coronary heart disease than someone who does not have depression. At the same time, the risk of having a heart attack with depression is double that of individuals who do not have depression. Exercise, improves both depression and risk factors for heart disease; yet, most Americans do not exercise regularly, especially those with depression and/or heart disease.

This study is important to these individuals as most of them want to exercise, but have difficulty finding the motivation and energy to do so, which has a substantially negative impact on their physical and mental health. This study will compare two empirically supported treatments designed to help individuals with a mood disorder at risk for or with heart disease to increase their physical activity as objectively measured by a Fitbit (which we will provide to participants at no cost).

This new study, focused on getting people moving, is funded by the Patient Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) and involves 2 Patient Powered Research Networks (PPRNs) known as the MoodNetwork and the Health eHeart Alliance. With the help of patients across the country the Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds study team aims to be able to study the best method to get people to be more physically active - making them happier and healthier in the process.

What is the purpose of the study?

Healthy Hearts Healthy Minds aims to compare two kinds of empirically supported treatment programs to see which is most effective at motivating people to be more physically active and increasing well-being: an online, standard, eight-week mindfulness training and an online, eight-session “cognitive-behavioral” training. The study may also tell us what groups of people do better with one or the other program.

How does the study work?

500 participants will be recruited from the MoodNetwork and the Health eHeart Alliance. They will be randomly assigned to either the mindfulness training, the cognitive-behavioral training, or a control group. Participants, regardless of group assignment, will receive a Fitbit Charge 2 at no cost.

All participants will fill out standard well-being and safety assessments every other week for eight weeks to see how they are doing. Participants will also do follow-up assessments after sixteen weeks has elapsed since starting the study. All sessions and assessments will be done online.

You may qualify if:
  • You are physically active less than 150 minutes per week
  • Have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25kg/m2
  • You possess an internet enabled device (e.g. smartphone, tablet/iPad, or desktop) with the Fitbit app and a registered personal account with Fitbit
What does participation involve?
  • Wearing a FitBit Charge 2 throughout the duration of the 16 week study
  • Filling out questionnaires via a secure, online system
  • Potentially participating in additional weekly program sessions for 8 weeks, depending on which program you are assigned to.


The purpose of this study is to figure out whether smart phones can be used to track symptoms of depression or mania. When depressed, for example, people tend to talk less on the phone or send fewer text messages. When experiencing elevated mood, people tend to talk and text more. Your smart phone can measure these symptoms.

We are doing this study because we want to figure out whether your phone is a good way of tracking these symptoms.

What does this study involve?

If you join this study, you will receive an app that monitors behavioral signs of depression or mania (e.g., texting frequency, call frequency, etc.) for the following 6 months. We will also ask you to rate your mood about once per month using mood measures to cross-reference the phone data with your personal ratings.

Who is this study for?

People who are experiencing depression or hypomania/mania currently or have experienced depression or hypomania/mania in the past. You will need to have an Android or iPhone smart phone to participate in this study.

Why should I sign up?

This app will display back to you the extent of your depressed mood based on your best-guess estimate of how these behavioral measures translate into your actual mood to date.

How can this study help other people with depression or bipolar disorder?

In order to assess mood accurately, we need many people so that we can come up with correct mathematical models to translate phone metrics (i.e., texting and call frequency) into usable feedback about mood. We want to recruit 1000 people to get better estimates of mood. In the future, we can use that to detect worsening of mood early and alert you or, if you would like for us to, your clinician.

What happens if I sign up?

Once you agree to this study, you will be asked to update your basic MoodNetwork information. Then we will ask you some questions about your depression/mania history and ask you to complete a mania and depression questionnaire. This will take about 15 minutes. After that, we will email you a link to the application, which you can download. Click here to sign up for this study.

Online Yoga Study

Launched by Louisa Sylvia, PhD, MoodNetwork’s director of operations, and her colleagues at Brown University, this innovative study assesses the feasibility of practicing yoga with an online video for people with mood disorders. Volunteers will participate in a 30-minute hatha yoga class via online video, and then share their feedback about the experience.

Hatha yoga uses physical poses, breathing exercises, and brief meditations to promote physical and emotional well-being. No prior experience with yoga is necessary to participate in this study. The yoga class used in this study has been specifically designed for people with all levels of yoga experience–or no yoga experience at all.

The study, including the class and questionnaires, takes approximately 40 minutes to complete. Get full information and join the study here.

If you have already completed the consent process for this study, go here to start the study.


MoodNetwork has collaborated with TestMyBrain to offer MoodNetwork participants fun, online brain games with feedback on how you did. Established by researchers at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital, TestMyBrain is part of the Many Brains Project, a non-profit organization that creates tools to help you learn about yourself. You can read more about TestMyBrain here.

Online Brain Game

A Study of Familial Depression

Depression affects 15 million Americans each year. More than 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year. Depression and suicidal behavior risk are transmitted in families due to a combination of genes and environment. Depressive illness and the risk of suicidal behavior are associated with altered brain function that we can detect by brain imaging.

A research study is being conducted at Columbia University Medical Center that aims to examine brain function in adults who have a parent or sibling who has suffered from depression and made a suicide attempt. You may be eligible if you are between the ages of 25 and 60 years old and have lost a first degree relative to suicide.

The goal of the study is to detect who is at risk of developing depression and who is not going to develop depression so we can prevent these problems before they occur. Your participation could help researchers better understand the causes of suicidal behavior and depression and help others who suffer from depression in the future. Procedures include brain imaging (MRI and PET), neuropsychological testing and a detailed clinical assessment. The compensation for participating is up to $600.

Please feel to contact the study coordinator, Allison, at or (646) 774-7560 if you are interested in participating or have questions.

Research on the brain and reward

Have you been experiencing symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder that interfere with your daily life? MGH and McLean Psychiatry researchers seek volunteers for a brain imaging study to understand how people with depression and bipolar disorder respond to reward. The study includes five sessions. If eligible to participate, receive up to $352.25.

We are seeking right-handed individuals, 18-50 years old with no serious medical or neurological illness other than depression or bipolar disorder to participate in 5 study sessions, each lasting between 2-3.5 hours.

If you are interested in participating, please complete our online screening survey at If you would prefer to complete a phone screen, please email Ashleigh at and include your phone number and some good times to reach you. Researchers will contact you to conduct a preliminary phone screen and provide more information about the study.