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May 2022: Spring School for Global Health: Digital Technologies for Addressing Global Challenges in Mental Health

5-6 May 2020, Spring School for Global Health: Digital Technologies for Addressing Global Challenges in Mental Health, Geneva, Switzerland (1 ECTS). Prof. Wac is a co-organizer.

More information is on the website of the Institute of Global Health.


Digital mental health refers to the research or the services which leverage online and mobile technologies for the goals of ameliorating the research, the promotion/prevention of mental health, the access to care services, the diagnostic, monitoring, or treatment of people living with mental health issues. For instance, the development of digital phenotyping, which refers to the collection and analysis of data from mobile technologies, may hold considerable potential for objectifying and improving diagnosis in mental health care. Data collected via smartphones allows real-time longitudinal, ecological, measurements and subjective assessments and may provide a more detailed and contextualized picture of the individual’s behaviour and symptoms. Such information may in turn allow the patient-healthcare provider dyad to co-define their therapeutic goals and strategies in a more personalized way. Mobile technologies and services also offer considerable solutions for reducing the global inequalities in access to mental health care (i.e. because access to care is too distant, too expensive or too stigmatizing). Despite the potential of these technological enhancements, it is important that a global health approach to mental health considers that mental health is culturally and socially determined (Fernando 2010, 2014).

The goal of this 2-day workshop will be to present the work of two experts in digital mental health intervening in western and/or non-western contexts. The second objective of this workshop will be to conduct a collaborative mini-project in groups to conceptualize one project idea for which they think that digital technology may bring significant innovation and value for patients, clinicians or researchers in global mental health. Participants will be encouraged to anticipate the implications of the project in terms of cultural context, access, adhesion, ethics, data analytics and financing. This exercise will benefit from the interactions with the speakers and the course instructors.

Target audience: we seek to cultivate a multidisciplinary approach, the course is therefore open to a broad range of disciplines (i.e. social science, health/life/medical sciences, computer science/engineering, …) with an interest in digital technologies and mental health.


Thursday 5 May 2022

  • 9am – 12pm : Group work with the organizers
  • 12pm – 1 :30pm : Lunch buffet
  • 1 :30pm – 3pm : Group work with the organizers
  • 3pm-6pm (8am-11am Chicago time) Pr Jonah Meyerhoff – Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies (CBITs), Department of Preventive Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago USA – Title: Meeting users’ needs: Opportunities for ubiquitous technologies to increase access to mental health care

Friday 6th May 2022

  • 9am-12pm : Dr Ken Carswell and Dr Mark Van Ommeren (WHO) – Department of Mental health & Substance Use – World Health Organization – Geneva Switzerland – Title: Digital technologies in global mental health. The work and experiences of WHO in this area.
  • 12pm – 1 :30pm : Lunch buffet
  • 1 :30pm – 3pm : Group work with the organizers
  • 3pm – 5 :30 pm : Presentation of group work by the students