• Kyodo News

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A system that alerts users to their stress levels by representing their answers to a list of questions with visual imagery on their cell phones and personal computers has been jointly developed by Tokai University and Sakurai Co.

The so-called Fish Bowl Index of mental health, devised to help prevent suicides, uses images of red and black goldfish, a bowl and a cat to illustrate a person’s state of mind.

The red goldfish represents the user and suffers more injuries depending on the level of physical stress the user reports. The black goldfish grows more aggressive depending on the level of stress the user reports in relationships with others.

The cat indicates social stress and tries to eat the goldfish if its levels rise, while the bowl indicates stress at home and cracks if stress levels rise.

The mental health check was developed as an early detection of depression two years ago by Tokai University in Kanagawa Prefecture. Its partner, Tokyo-based Sakurai, began selling the system mainly to corporate health insurance societies in February.

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