The 3rd Symposium on Computing and Mental Health

The 3rd Symposium on Computing and Mental Health took place at CHI 2018, Montreal, on Sunday 22nd April. The symposium attracted over 60 participants and followed successful symposia at CHI 2016 and 2017. We’ve put some photos on this page and you can browse the organizers’ and participants’ tweets at .

We are planning CMH 2019 now – to be held at CHI 2019 in Glasgow, UK.

Participants at CMH2018 engaging in the technology design challenge

Call For Participation

The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030, mental illnesses will be the leading disease burden globally. Advances in technology create opportunities for close collaboration between computation and mental health researchers. The intersection between ubiquitous computing and sensing, social media, data analytics and emerging technologies offers promising avenues for developing technologies to help those in mental distress. Yet for these to be useful and usable, human-centered design and evaluation will be essential. The third in our series of Symposia on Computing and Mental Health will provide an opportunity for researchers to come together under the auspices of CHI to discuss the design and evaluation of new mental health technologies. Our emphasis is on understanding users and how to increase engagement with these technologies in daily life.

The full Call-For-Papers is available here. Please cite as “G. Wadley, R.A. Calvo, J. Torous, M. Czerwinksi (2018). ­­3rd Symposium on Computing and Mental Health: Understanding, Engaging, and Delighting Users. in Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems.”

There were four submission types:

organizers John Torous and Rafael Calvo (via robot) with participants

  • Short papers were submitted to Easychair and are available below. Authors presented a poster at the symposium.
  • Long papers were submitted straight to JMIR. Authors were invited to give a talk at the symposium.
  • Posters described work-in-progress, a technology, or an existing publication.
  • Social papers acted as a CV to support networking at the symposium.

Our earlier special issue of JMIR stemming from the 2016 workshop is available at .

We used the Twitter hashtag #CMH2018 .

CfC Challenge

Petr Slovak told us about this great opportunity for funding from the Committee for Children on the topic of improving children’s mental well-being. Committee for Children is a non-profit organisation that develops evidence-based social-emotional learning programs for children in schools. CfC is most interested in project proposals that can lead to scalable interventions with real-world impact. The aim of the seed-funded work ($25k) is to provide proof-of-concept data to show feasibility and feed into to further funding phases ($100k, $250k, …  ).



  • 9am Introduction and welcome (symposium organizers – details below)
  • 9:30 Keynote talks (speaker details below)
  • 10:30 Coffee and posters
  • 11:30 Design exercise in small groups
  • 12:30 Lunch
  • 2pm Presentations by Special Issue authors (details below)
  • 3pm Coffee and posters
  • 4pm Panel discussion: “Is technology the answer? Critical and ethical views” (details below)
  • 4:30 Structured discussion on future directions

Keynote Speakers

Steve Whittaker is Professor of Psychology at UCSC. He works at the intersection of Psychology and Computer Science. He studies how technology is affecting fundamental aspects of our everyday lives, using insights from Cognitive and Social Science to design new digital tools to support well being and to help manage personal information. His past research has been funded by the EU, NSF, EPSRC, Google and Microsoft, and he has worked at Bell Labs, IBM Labs and HP Labs. He is Editor of Human Computer Interaction. His awards include a Lifetime Research Achievement Award from the Association of Computation Machinery Computer Human Interaction Society, and he is an ACM Fellow.

Shalini Lal is Principal Scientist and Assistant Professor at the School of Rehabilitation, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Montréal. Her research involves the development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative models to increase access to mental health care for youth and their families, leveraging information and communication technologies to support and augment the delivery of mental health care, and studying the impact of services on youth resilience, recovery, and service engagement based on patient and family perspectives. She is a Principal Lead of ACCESS-Canada, a pan-Canadian network that is implementing and evaluating service transformation in youth mental health at sites across Canada.

Gunther Eysenbach conducts research into healthcare, health policy, eHealth, and consumer health informatics. He is senior scientist at the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network (Toronto) and associate professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) and organizer of the annual Medicine 2.0 Congress.

Special Issue authors

The following authors presented papers which had been submitted to the Special Issue.

  • Ada Ng, Northwestern University: Veterans’ Perspectives on Fitbit Use in Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: An Interview Study
  • Alicia Heraz, BMLab: Touching Force-Sensitive Screens Reveal Emotions
  • Stephen Schueller, Northwestern University: Consumer Discovery of and Interest in Mental Health Apps: A Survey and Focus Group Study
  • Regan Mandryk and Max Birk, University of Saskatchewan:
    Improving the Efficacy of Cognitive Training for Digital Mental Health Interventions through Avatar Customization
  • Katarzyna Stawarz, Chris Preist, Debbie Tallon, Nicola Wiles, David Coyle, University College Dublin. User Experience of CBT Apps for Depression: An Analysis of App Functionality and User Reviews 
  • MI Zhang, Michigan State University: Understanding the Needs of Mobile Behavioral Sensing Technology for Enhancing University Counseling Services
  • Youngjun Cho, Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze, Simon Julier, University College London: Instant Automated Inference of Perceived Mental Stress through Smartphone PPG and Thermal Imaging
  • Darius Rohani, Technical University of Denmark: Data-driven learning in high-resolution activity sampling from depressed patients with bipolar disorder
  • Rob Morris, System Design and User Perceptions of an Artificially Empathic Conversational Agent
  • Abhishek Pratap, University of Washington: Using mobile apps to assess and treat depression in Hispanics and Latinos: Results from a fully remote and randomized clinical trial

Short papers

Click to view the short papers and posters.

Marysue V Heilemann, Patricia D Soderlund, Priscilla Kehoe and Mary-Lynn Brecht A Transmedia Storytelling Intervention with Interactive Elements to Benefit Latinas’ Mental Health: Feasibility, Acceptability, and Efficacy
Long Ting Chan and James Wallace Changing Peer Support Attitudes with Avatar-based Gamification
Lucas Paletta and Amir Dini Emotion Measurement from Gaze in Playful Virtual Reality Interaction
Brendan Loo Gee, Philip J. Batterham, Kathleen M. Griffiths and Amelia Gulliver Pilot Trial of an Ecological Momentary Intervention for Social Anxiety
Sun Young Park, Sid Ambulkar, Yikai Zou and Jina Huh Mosaic of Social Support: Understanding How College Students Manage Mental Health
Craig MacKie, Nicole Dunn, Sarah Maclean, Valerie Testa, Marnin Heisel and Simon Hatcher Results from a pilot study of smartphone-assisted problem-solving therapy for men who at-risk for self-harm
Matthew Barker, Daniel Gooch, Janet Van der Linden and Marian Petre Poster: Designing to Support Wellbeing through Enhanced Emotional Self-Awareness
Adrian Aguilera and Courtney Lyles Reinforcement Learning to Increase Physical Activity in People with Diabetes and Depression
Haik Kalantarian, Peter Washington, Jessey Schwartz, Jena Daniels, Nick Haber and Dennis Wall Mobile Crowdsourcing of Emotive Video for Autism Research
John Fouyaxis, Niranjan Bidargaddi and Camille Short Adherence to an e-health ecological momentary assessment protocol in distressed young people: a mixed methods study
Akane Okuno and Yasuyuki Sumi Social Activity Measurement with Face Detection Using First-Person Video as a Lifelog
Franziska Tachtler Designing for resilience with unaccompanied migrant youth
Gustavo Tondello Gustavo Fortes Tondello social paper
Ali Khaleghi, Fatemeh Heydari, Hadi Haedar, Maedeh Takhttavani, Alireza Soltaninezhad and Zari Jafari An approach to diagnose cognitive deficits: gamifying ADHD children diagnosis questionnaire
Youngjun Cho, Nadia Bianchi-Berthouze and Simon J. Julier Automated Inference of Cognitive Stress in-the-Wild
Darragh McCashin Darragh McCashin, PhD student – Social Paper
Max L. Wilson, Natalia Sharon, Horia A. Maior, Serena Midha, Michael P. Craven and Sarah Sharples Mental Workload as Personal Data: Designing a Cognitive Activity Tracker
Reuben Kirkham Digital Sensing Technologies, Mental Capacity and the Judicial Process
Hidde van der Meulen, Gary O’Reilly and David Coyle Participatory Design of Computer Games to Support Adolescent Mental Health
Jessica Feuston and Anne Marie Piper Mindful Discourse: A Critical Review of Mental Health in Human-Computer Interaction
Jessica Schroeder Mobile Health and Personal Informatics in Mental Health and Migraine
Riin Tark, Anna Suarez, Mait Metelitsa, Kirsti Akkermann and Kadri Haljas The Development of Digital Health Intervention for Reducing Psychological Problems in Chronically Ill Children
Aaron Springer, Karen Annell, Jack Bauman and Steve Whittaker Towards Systems that Elicit Spontaneous Self-Affirmation
Petr Slovak Technology driven prevention: supporting development of resilience
Lisa Vizer Computing and Mental Health: Digital Phenotype
Jessica Pater and Elizabeth Mynatt Digital Self-harm – A case study of eating disorders and social media
Ulrik Lyngs Distraction, Self-Regulation, and ICT Use
Greg Wadley, Mario Alvarez-Jimenez, Sarah Bendall, Ben Loveridge, Reeva Lederman and John Gleeson Virtual Reality Therapy for Youth Mental Health
Pushpendra Singh and Anupriya Tuli Exploring Use of Mobile Technology for Supporting Individuals with Schizophrenia in India
Blake Hawkins, Oliver Haimson and Nazanin Andalibi It Gets Better, But it Takes More Than a YouTube Video: Reconsidering Online Mental Health Campaigns
Toni Michel Developing an inclusive technological toolkit to support prevention approaches
Eivind Flobak, Daniel A. Jensen, Astri J. Lundervold, Tine Nordgreen, Li-Hsuan Chen and Frode Guribye Towards Technology-Based Interventions for Improving Emotional and Cognitive Control
Way-Kiat Bong, Kristoffer Upsahl, Claudia Galassini, Kai A. Olsen and Weiqin Chen CallingYou – Tackling loneliness by fostering interactions among elderly
Mat Rawsthorne POSTER: A Second Opinion on First Contact: Meta-Synthesis of User-Reported Motives for Initial Engagement with Lay-Led Online Support for Mood Disorders
Claudette Pretorius and David Coyle Intelligent techniques to support online mental health communities and resource recommendations for 4 levels of stepped care
Aris Malapaschas, Matthew Jamieson, Jonathan Evans and Stephen Brewster Designing a Prompting System to Facilitate the Rehabilitation of People with Acquired Brain Injury
Alberto Gonzalez Olmos and Stephen Brewster Augmenting the Perception of Other’s Anxiety with Subliminal Interfaces
Jon Clucas, Jake Son, Michael P. Milham and Arno Klein Discriminating Groups by Audio Feature Analysis with openSMILE
Jonathan Clucas, Jake Son, Anirudh Krishnakumar, Michael P. Milham and Arno Klein Questionnaire Response Correlations to Improve Efficiency: Preliminary Evidence From the Healthy Brain Network
Vivian Genaro Motti Smartwatch Applications for Mental Health: An Exploratory Analysis on Users’ Perspectives
Apoorva Bhalla and T.K. Srikanth Designing a mobile phone-based music playing application for children with autism
Kai Lukoff Beyond ‘Engagement’ Metrics: How Can We Design Technology for Meaningful Experiences?
Lavanya Rajesh Kumar Lavanya Rajesh Kumar social paper
Raju Maharjan, Per Bækgaard and Jakob E. Bardram Designing for Engagement Driven Collaboration
Edgard Lamounier Social paper: Edgard A. Lamounier Jr.
Edgard Lamounier, Keynes Masayoshi Kanno, Alexandre Cardoso, Gerson Flavio Mendes Lima and Ederaldo José Lopes Helping Early Stages Alzheimer´s Disease Individuals and Their Caretakers with a Voice Recognition Mobile Augmented Reality System
Carissa Low Mobile Technology to Detect and Modify Depression and Sedentary Behavior During Cancer Treatment
Kevin Hallgren Developing Implementation-Ready Technology to Support Measurement-Based Care in Addiction Treatment

Panel discussion: “Is technology the answer? Critical and ethical views”

organizer Greg Wadley welcoming participants

In this panel discussion we took a critical look at ethical aspects of research into computing and mental health, asking:


Greg Wadley is a lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, Australia. His research involves the design and evaluation of technologies for health and wellbeing. He has collaborated on 14 funded projects in youth and perinatal mental health, occupational health, smoking cessation, social connection and Indigenous wellbeing. He leads a project to design and trial virtual reality software for youth mental health, and is part of a 3 year Discovery Indigenous project to co-design technologies with Indigenous Australians. He holds degrees in computer science (Queensland), cognitive science (Melbourne), and human-computer interaction (Melbourne).

Rafael A. Calvo is Professor at the University of Sydney, and ARC Future Fellow. He worked at the Language Technology Institute in Carnegie Mellon University, Universidad Nacional de Rosario (Argentina) and on sabbaticals at the University of Cambridge and the University of Memphis. Rafael also has worked as an Internet consultant for projects in the US, Australia, Brasil, and Argentina. He is the author of two books and over 100 publications in the fields of learning technologies, affective computing and computational intelligence. Rafael is Associate Editor of the Journal of Medical Internet Research Human Factors (JMIR-HF), co-Editor of the Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing, and co-author of Positive Computing (MIT Press) with Dorian Peters.

John Torous, MD is co-director of the digital psychiatry program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching hospital, where he also serves as a staff psychiatrist and clinical informatics fellow. He has a background in electrical engineering and computer sciences and received an undergraduate degree in the field from UC Berkeley before attending medical school at UC San Diego. He completed his psychiatry residency at Harvard. Dr. Torous is active in investigating the potential of mobile mental health technologies for psychiatry, developing smartphone tools for clinical research, leading clinical studies of smartphone apps for diverse mental illnesses, and publishing on the research, ethical, and patient perspectives of digital psychiatry. He serves as editor-in-chief for JMIR Mental Health and currently leads the American Psychiatric Association’s work group on the evaluation of smartphone apps.

Mary Czerwinski is an American cognitive scientist and computer-human interaction expert who works for Microsoft Research as manager of their research group on visualization and interaction. Czerwinski earned her doctorate in cognitive psychology from Indiana University. She worked in computer-human interaction for Bellcore, the Johnson Space Center, and Compaq, and also held an adjunct position at Rice University while at Compaq. She moved to Microsoft in 1996, as a usability manager in product development. Two years later, she joined Microsoft Research. She is an adjunct professor in the University of Washington’s Information School. In 2015 she was named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery “for contributions to human-computer interaction and leadership in the CHI community.”