Digital Mental Health – workshop on Mental Health Day

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(Image – (CC) Tommy Nilsson)

This workshop went very successfully. We may upload materials from it soon. 

Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Venue: Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham

A joint Human-Data Interaction Network / eNurture Network workshop

The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030, mental illnesses will be the leading disease burden globally. If digital mental health (DMH) technologies are to be successful at supporting those who experience mental distress to succeed, understanding the role of human data interaction within technology and services is essential.

Digital Mental Health (DMH) applications are proliferating rapidly to tackle adult depression and anxiety disorders. DMH addresses four areas of mental health service delivery: information provision; screening, assessment and monitoring; intervention; and social support. DMH holds promise to expand access to care, reduce costs, provide flexibility in terms of standardisation and personalisation, and offer greater interactivity and user engagement (i.e., treatment compliance).

The digitalisation of the NHS currently focuses on three broad technology categories – Digital Medicine, Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, and Robotics. These three categories are likely to impact on DMH in the next 20 years and are drastically changing staff training, administrative support (e.g., digital clinical records) and the research landscape.

Digitalisation also means the generation of vast amounts of personal data, potentially useful on DMH when combined, for example, with social media data (including text, user profile, and other behavioural data). With the increase of user-generated sensor data, there is a need to tailor analytic methods to enable richer multi-input analysis capabilities for technology-based interventions. For example, the analysis of data posted anonymously on online mental health forums using Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques could be useful to identify users’ recovery trajectories and flag those at highest risk or needing additional support. However, issues around data sensitivity, users’ perception of privacy, unintended social impact and algorithm bias, are still unresolved. The EU GDPR regulations by itself alone will not deal with concerns arising with some of the most private data assets, such as in-home video cameras used for activity recognition. We will therefore welcome technical responses, such as data processing system architectures that by design only share derived statistical inferences, rather than the underlying raw data. Alongside new technical architectures to permit compartmentalised and truly private data analytics, this theme will also consider the implications of the GDPR on the personalisation of complex interventions.

This workshop will focus on the challenges and opportunities that the digitalisation of mental health services brings to different stakeholders including academic researchers, representative groups (people with lived experiences, parents, teachers, and young people), professional advisory and partners from public, private and third sector organisations to develop ideas and proposals relevant for the intersection between human data interaction and DMH. 

Among other topics, we will encourage discussions around:

  • Data-centred vs. user-centred analytics, is there a technical solution?
  • Issues of information governance and data ethics
  • Data privacy and security
  • Do we trust mental health algorithm mediated outcomes? Who is accountable if something goes wrong?
  • What are the tensions and concern among different stakeholders?

Organisers: Elvira Perez (U. Nottingham), Jennifer Martin (NIHR MindTech), Roma Armstrong (NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde), Prof. Chris Hollis (NIHR BRC Mental Health, Nottingham). Venue: Institute of Mental Health, Nottingham.

Apply to attend – please apply with:

  1. name,
  2. institution/company/organisation,
  3. a short statement of why you would like to attend this workshop,

To hdi-network {at}


The HDI Network will cover travel costs to attend – and accommodation if you are coming far.


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