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Mental Health Innovation Day: open window to innovative solutions

More than 100 innovators linked to the field of mental health and new technologies took part in the Mental Health Innovation Day. Networking, collaboration and new solutions were the maxims of the day.

28 October, 2022

Open innovation, knowledge dissemination and networking were the main issues of the Mental Health Innovation Day, which brought together more than 100 innovators linked to the field of new technologies and mental health.

The conference, held on 25 October at the Parc Científic de Barcelona, was a great opportunity to immerse oneself in different disruptive solutions in mental health with technology as the common thread. The event was led by mental health researchers from the main Catalan research institutions, with the participation of Xavier Aldeguer, Director of Knowledge Transfer of the Generalitat de Catalunya. He was in charge, together with Dr. Josep Maria Haro, coordinator of the TECSAM Network, of carrying out the institutional welcome.



The Mental Health Innovation Day was an open window to the future of innovation in mental health, where all attendees were able to enter into the journey of 16 pioneering research projects, both clinical and technological, which provide useful solutions for people and society. This event is a clear example that “unity is strength”, where around presentations and exhibitors, the entire innovative ecosystem in mental health has acted collaboratively to provide solutions in mental health.

With the aim of presenting the innovative solutions of the research groups belonging to the Network from a practical and experimental point of view, the MHID has taken the form of an immersive and stimulating meeting space in which it has been possible to test the technology in first person, networking and plant the seed of possible collaborations, as well as make contact with users and people affected, accelerators and potential investors.




Transfer, the ultimate goal of research

Xavier Aldeguer, in his welcoming speech, highlighted Catalonia’s solid research system, comparable to countries such as Austria and Denmark, and highlighted the need to promote the transfer of knowledge from researchers abroad. He also assured that the Catalan digital health sector is attracting great interest from foreign private funds looking to invest in new technologies. All of this “is a window of opportunity for the technologies that will be seen today and have an impact on society”, he guaranteed.




Likewise, he highlighted the role of the networks in this task of carrying forward the transfer thanks to their capacity to “make connections” and stressed the importance of holding conferences such as this one, which should “serve to lead”. Aldeguer closed his speech by assuring that “networks are a commitment to the future”.

Along the same lines, Dr. Josep Maria Haro stressed that “small discoveries should motivate us to find solutions to mental health problems”, and that these projects have great potential to be transferred to society.


Speeches: closer to projects that leave their mark

From collaborative projects to promote a good state of mental health, to mobile applications or virtual reality experiences, the first part of the Mental Health Innovation Day presentations opened the door to discover captivating and very heterogeneous science-based projects that respond to different mental disorders and different moments of user care.

The backbone of this first part of the event was the desire to provide affected people with appropriate and useful treatments using technology. In this sense, the aim was to give visibility to projects aimed at preventing and detecting mental health problems early on, as well as solutions that promote an improvement in the quality of life of those affected.




“One in four individuals will have a mental disorder throughout their lives”, with these chilling data, Elena Pujals, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and specialist in mental health at Parc Taulí Hospital Universitari, has started, who presented the project Mind -U. In the first part of the talks, the Lands of Fog and PROSOCIAL projects were also presented by Olga Galí i Pérez, researcher and lecturer at Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Other researchers from recognised institutions, universities and research centres in Catalonia also took part, presenting pioneering projects: Sara Domenech, PhD in Psychology and researcher at the Health and Ageing Foundation of the UAB, has presented the Long -Remi project (IDEAI-UPC); Ana Martin Blanco, psychiatrist and PhD in Psychiatry at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, has presented the app SaPPatisfacció; Albert Feliu-Soler, professor and researcher in clinical and social psychology at the UAB, with a presentation on App fibromyalgia (PSSJDIRSJD); and Aida Serra, doctor at the Universitat de Lleida (UdL), who focused her presentation on a patent for biocompatible extracellular vesicles (IISPV).




In this first part of the Mental Health Innovation Day, the public was able to get to know the four winning projects of the 1st Mental Health Innovation Contest that the Network launched in collaboration with DKV Innolab and the Mental Health Cluster of Catalonia: the ICURA project of the Institute for Research and Innovation Parc Taulí (I3PT), presented by Ismael Ávila (Innovation Project Manager at I3PT); the Parental Psych App solution of the Parc Sanitari San Juan de Déu (PSSJD), by the researcher Luciana Díaz Cutraro (clinical psychologist and researcher of the MERITT Group at the PSSJD); and the solutions presented by Sara Zangri, CEO of Medea Mind; and Carla Zaldua, co-founder and CEO of Accexible.


Showcase: get to know technologies with the 5 senses

Around 9 showcases of innovative technology in mental health developed by the member groups of the Network, it was possible to get to know and experiment with virtual reality devices, artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, during the second part of the Mental Health Innovation Day: the showcase.




Virtual reality applications were the protagonists of the showcase space and attracted the attention of attendees, investors and accelerators. The audience took part in a VR exposure treatment for alcoholism, presented by the Virtual Reality Applications and Other New Technologies in Clinical and Health Psychology group (VR-PSY Lab) of the UB; a VR treatment for people with obesity (Socrates project), promoted by the Psychiatry, Mental Health and Addictions group of the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute; and the use of VR to boost people’s efficiency by improving personal skills (Eyme), a technology created by the Clinical and Health Psychology Intervention group from the UB.




Mobile and web applications were also present at the conference. Among them is the App for the treatment of ADHD (TDApp) promoted by the group Translational Medicine and Decisions Sciences Laboratoy (TRANSLAB) of the Universitat de Girona (UdG); or LogMeal, an app that uses computer vision to detect nutritional characteristics, developed by the Computer Vision and Machine Learning group of the UB, which has allowed to identify the nutritional values of some of the breakfast products enjoyed by the attendees during the MHID.




Gamification solutions were also presented, such as MUVITY (a joint project between the UPC and ADFO), a gamified system for the physical telerehabilitation of chronically injured people, among other pioneering projects.



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