Aug. 23 2019

the intersection of mental health and technology

Find other members of the tech community interested in mental health
Witness innovation by companies and researchers in this space
Learn how to advocate for mental health at work

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Time Room A Room B
8:30AM Registration
9:00AM Opening Remarks Dr. Jud Brewer
I'm Not Well and That's Okay

Julia Nguyen After five years of doing mental health activism publicly, the biggest lesson Julia has learned is the importance of taking care of yourself before supporting others. This keynote is about her journey in learning that lesson through her experiences self-advocating for her mental illness, organizing supportive communities, and surviving trauma.

Julia Nguyen
9:45AM Short break
Hacking Toward a Better Future for Mental Health

Stephen Cognetta Anne Wu In this talk Anne and Stephen will share their experiences co-founding Hack Mental Health, which sets up events for students & professionals to use their tech skills for mental health.

Stephen Cognetta & Anne Wu
Toxic behavior & fitting in @ work

Veronica Hanus Many women feel pressure to blend into their male-dominated work environments. Their adjustments can be as small as changing their style or "watching their tone" but any daily source of anxiety robs both the women (and their teams!) of their best selves. A half decade ago, I learned this the hard way when I encountered a sexism so subtle it took me years after I left to realize the toxic behaviors I had picked up to be successful. This talk will shed light on the identity adjustments made for the comfort of others, how I realized the value of the "me" I had lost, and recommendations for supporting women at work.

Veronica Hanus
How may AI help you?

Harshinee Srira The talk will include information regarding the starting blocks of being a successful Artificial Intelligence practitioner for deep learning in the field of mental health, and discuss various case studies where AI has already helped curb the progress and prevalence of certain mental health conditions. Then, we move on to introducing the concept of Dual Diagnosis (a condition where a patient exhibits two different kinds of addiction issues) and the challenges it presents, and mention some possible solutions for it.

Harshinee Sriram
Digital Mental Health & Wearables


Craig DeLarge
This Is Not The End

It’s easy to get discouraged when battling mental illness in a fast-paced tech environment. The problem is not us; it’s the “one-size-fits-all” approach of many workplaces. I’ll share my experiences to show the good and the bad, and do my best to restore some hope for further down the career path.

Eva "Bunny" Conti
Wearable Technology for Emotional Awareness

As we move through the constructed spaces of the day-to-day, our bodies undergo a series of measurable changes that indicate shifts in affective states. Our unique project combines portable biosensors with GPS data to provide textured renderings of such states as they emerge in the human body.

A.T. Kingsmith
What technology and education can’t teach you about mental health

I’m a software engineer with a psychology PhD, yet it took having a baby to make me realize I struggle with anxiety and depression. When life at home was too much to handle I used my work as a refuge. I’ll share how this, and other coping strategies I developed, stopped working when I became a mom.

Emma Ferneyhough Colner
Conversational Technology with NLP & React

This developer-focused talk will walk through how we built Synchealth, a digital concierge service that helps clinics attract and retain new patients by improving their onboarding experience. We use AI to initiate conversations with patients when they are appointment-seeking and guide them with the intake process using an intuitive user interface.

Param Kulkarni
12:15PM Break for lunch
Building a DIY ADHD Medication Reminder

Ever have trouble remembering to take your medication? Let me show you how to build a solution for yourself! In this talk, I'll cover how to build your own medication reminder app (something that I now use daily) using Azure, the Twilio API, and an MP3 of Shia LaBeouf (MP3 optional, of course!).

Chloe Condon
Crowdsourcing Mental Health Care (Presentation)

Our mental health system is unscalable and many people lack access to therapy. Self-help apps and bots are a possible solution, but they don’t work for everyone, and some prefer human support. What if your friends and colleagues could learn to help you using scientifically validated skills? We built a scalable tech solution that does this. Come learn how it works!

Sam Bernecker & Norian Caporale-Berkowitz
Beyond Screen time: Building more responsible tech products

Heavy screen time has been linked to depression, fatigue, and stress. What does this mean? In an always on, always connected world and an industry that releases products every day, tech is increasingly ingrained into our ethos. With screens on fridges, voice technology rising, and accessibility enabled interactions- knowing screen time isn’t enough to truly understand how it’s affecting our mind and body. We need to take into account the diversity of experiences we all have with technology to build better and more responsible products. In this talk, I’ll share questions we should be asking to better understand the evolving relationship between humans and technology and how it’s affecting us- mentally, physically and socially.

Ariba Jahan
Crowdsourcing Mental Health Care (Interactive)

This is a hands-on, interactive workshop where you'll help other participants navigate problems and opportunities in their lives and receive their help in return. You'll learn listening and helping skills that can be applied to any relationship, while resisting the urge to give advice. Get ready to talk about yourself and help others!

Sam Bernecker & Norian Caporale-Berkowitz
The ROI of Mental Health: Building Happier, More Profitable Companies

In this session, learn why happy, fulfilled individuals form motivated, high-performing teams, and how to implement better mental health initiatives to increase your team’s output, and your company’s profits.

Vinciane de Pape
UX with mental health in mind

Learn why design principles and patterns with mental health in mind actually lead to a better user experience for everyone, and how you can implement them in your own workflow and products.

Bradley Gabr-Ryn
2:55PM Break
Panel: Mental Health Startups & Investors
  • Mental Health Startups & Investors
  • Moderator: Solome Tibebu
  • Julia Bernstein, COO, Tempest:
  • Sara Eshelman, Principal, Spero Ventures
  • Nick Altebrando, VP Product Strategy, AbleTo:
  • Allyson Plosko, Director, Vinaj/Telosity Fund:
Detangling yourself from Technology

Whether you are lost down the Instagram rabbit hole or you get push notifications from your news app, you know the feeling: Why don’t I feel like I’m in charge? This talk will explain how we are manipulated by tech and provide open-source solutions that guide you to a healthier digital environment.

Pete Dunlap
Hacking your Emotional API

Being a good developer isn’t just about slinging code; we’re part of a community. Interacting with others in a community means feelings are involved. In this talk you’ll learn how emotions are affecting you by modeling them as an API and looking at the code.

John Sawers
Virtual Reality & Art Therapy


Sarah Ticho
Innovating for the wellbeing of Young People

What do robots, cancer survivorship, and lonely teenagers have in common? They are inextricably linked through Hopelab’s unique process for developing science-based technologies that improve the health and well-being of young people. This talk will highlight our process, our co-designed products, and our research.

Danielle Ramo
Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk

Teletherapy can reduce loneliness, depression and anxiety. It can also extend the reach of mental health professionals. I'll show you how we're putting this in practice and why it's so important.

Liz Clancy
Panel: Mental Health in the Tech Industry
  • Mental Health in the Tech Industry
  • Moderator: Aneela Idnani, Cofounder & President of HabitAware
  • Nicole Barton, Head of Quality Engineering at Thrive Global
  • Frédéric Harper, Developer Advocate at Digital Ocean
  • M.K Fain, Software Engineer at Promptworks
  • Mx. Kassian Wren, Developer Advocate at Cloudflare
Redesigning the mindfulness revolution to include people of color

Asian Americans are three times less likely than the general population to seek mental healthcare. African American women are 2 to 6 times more likely to die from maternal mortality in a large part due the racial trauma and stress they experience during their lifetime regardless of income. These are a few examples of where minorities have severe mental health disparities as compared to the general population. A large body of literature now shows mindfulness meditation can reduce anxiety, depression, stress and much more. Ongoing studies have assessed the huge potential to incorporate mindfulness-based stress reduction into improving wellbeing for communities of color. How can we utilize this growing research in developing technology to offer quality mental health options in the form of mindfulness for diverse communities? Who are the existing players in the space, and where are there gaps?

Priya Ayer
5:30PM Closing Remarks



AnxietyTech will be held at 11 Times Square in NYC at the Microsoft Reactor space.

Map of Manhatten

We have secured a limited number of rooms at the nearby Westin New York at Times Square which are available at a discounted conference rate.


Microsoft Reactor

Please contact [email protected] if you're interested in sponsoring.


The event is being organized by Jamund & Kari Ferguson with help from friends including April Wensel, Solome Tibebu and Nicole Barton.

Code of Conduct

All attendees, speakers, sponsors and volunteers at our conference are required to agree with the following code of conduct. Organisers will enforce this code throughout the event. We are expecting cooperation from all participants to help ensuring a safe environment for everybody.

The Quick Version

Our conference is dedicated to providing a harassment-free conference experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment of conference participants in any form. Sexual language and imagery is not appropriate for any conference venue, including talks, workshops, parties, Twitter and other online media. Conference participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from the conference without a refund at the discretion of the conference organisers.

The Less Quick Version

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, mental illness, body size, race, ethnicity, religion, technology choices, sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention.

Participants asked to stop any harassing behavior are expected to comply immediately.

Sponsors are also subject to the anti-harassment policy. In particular, sponsors should not use sexualized images, activities, or other material. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use sexualized clothing/uniforms/costumes, or otherwise create a sexualized environment.

Enforcement and Consequences

If a participant engages in harassing behavior, the conference organisers may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the conference with no refund. refund. If behavior warrants security or police presence, those authorities will be contacted.

Contact and Reporting

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of conference staff immediately. Conference staff will be wearing AnxietyTech t-shirts. You can also e-mail reports to [email protected] and they will be dealt with promptly.

Conference staff will be happy to help participants contact venue security or local law enforcement, provide escorts, or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the conference. We value your attendance.

We expect participants to follow these rules at conference and workshop venues and conference-related social events.