Supporting clinical mental health research
using cues from online social messaging data

Contact us at for downloads!

What if we could predict mood and improve mental health
without disrupting a user's life?

Sochiatrist aims to predict signals of mental health from naturally-occurring social messaging data, mostly from people's mobile phones. A social data extractor automatically exports and anonymizes social messaging data (like texting and Facebook messages, also optionally public social media posts), which can be combined with biomarker and qualitative interviews done by clinical researchers to identify patterns. Patterns like response timing, the changing content of messages, or who is being messaged all provide clues to a user model for mental health.

The Sochiatrist Social Data Extractor is a tool that allows you to collect an individual's private and public social media data with their consent, and store it in an easy to analyze CSV format.

Using the data extraction tool

Note: This software only works on Macs and macOS based operating systems.

Step 1: Download Sochiatrist

Contact us at to download Sochiatrist. Once you receive the zip file, open Finder and double-click the file to unzip it.

Step 2: Move Sochiatrist to Applications

For MacOS to recognize Sochiatrist as an application, we have to move it to the Applications folder.

Within the unzipped zip file, there should be an app named Sochiatrist Data Extractor. Copy it.

Within Finder, navigate to your Applications directory using the shortcut Cmd+Shift+A and paste it there. Replace any previous versions to overwrite previous releases.

Step 3: Enable Full Disk Access

If running MacOS Mojave, you need to allow Sochiatrist access to all your data.

Open Spotlight using Cmd+Space, type in "privacy" and hit enter. Navigate to the "Privacy" pane.

Scroll down to the "Full Disk Access" setting, click the lock to make changes, and click the plus to add Sochiatrist to the list of allowed apps.

Step 4: Run the Application

You can now click and run Sochiatrist like any other native Mac application. Open Spotlight using Cmd+Space, type "Sochiatrist" and hit enter. Pin it to your dock for quick access! The first time you run it it may take some time to start up as it has to install local dependencies.

If the app is blocked because it is from an unidentified developer:

Open Spotlight using Cmd+Space, type in "security", and hit enter.

Under the "General" pane, there should be an option to "Open Anyways". Click this to run the application without trouble in the future.

Step 5: Troubleshooting

Sometimes, portions of our dependency management system may still fail. If the main process crashes, run the following code in the terminal and restart:

brew install libmagic && brew install ffmpeg && brew install gdbm && brew link --overwrite gdbm

If you have any issues, please email us at sochiatrist [at] We'll get back to you ASAP!

Output Data Format

After completing the data extraction process, you can expect to find all messages in a CSV entitled anonymized_[name of participant].csv. The data will look like this.

[example picture of row of data here]

As you can see above, all numbers are replaced with a pound sign/hashtag, all names are replaced with hashed representations of the name (e.g., 7ac988b056981), and all conversation participants are also anonymized in the fourth column.

Compatible Apps

For Android and iPhone

iMessages and Text Messages

Facebook (Messages and Timeline Posts)

Twitter (Messages and Direct Messages)

Instagram (Direct Messages and Posts)

Snapchat (Metadata only)

WhatsApp (coming soon)


Research Team


This research is supported by NIH grants R21 HD088739-01, R01 MH108641-01A1, R01 MH110379-01A1, R01 MH105379-02S1, R01 HD095932-01A1, and Army Research Office grant 71881-NS-YIP. The overarching research is in collaboration with teams at hospitals in Rhode Island and Boston, led by Nicole Nugent, Megan Ranney, Daniel Dickstein, and Christie Rizzo.

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Our next Sochiatrist study will start soon!