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ISMAR 2019 Workshop Proposal

Mixed/Augmented Reality and Mental Health


Dr Nilufar Baghaei, Dept of Information Technology, OPAIC, New Zealand

Email address:

Dr Sylvia Hach, Senior Lecturer Clinical Research, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand

Email address:

Dr Hai-Ning Liang, Dept of Computer Science, Xi'an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, China

Email address:

Dr John Naslund, Research Fellow in Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, United States

Email address:


Submission deadline: ***15 July 2019***

Notification of Acceptance: 14 August 2019

Camera-ready version: 4 September 2019

Submission Instruction: Please email your submission to

Paper Length: 2-4 pages (excluding references)



Publication: We would like the workshop's papers to be published in ISMAR 2019 adjunct Proceedings and IEEE Xplore.

Format of the workshop: paper presentations, demos

Call for Participation

Mental health conditions pose a major challenge to healthcare providers and society at large. The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030, mental health conditions will be the leading disease burden globally. Mental health services are struggling to meet the needs of users and arguably fail to reach large proportions of those in need. Early intervention, support and education can have significant positive impact on a person’s prognosis.

Over the last few years there has been a growing interest in technologies for educating and supporting mental health. Advances in technology have created opportunities for collaboration between Technology and Health researchers to design and develop tools to train and support healthcare providers, connect users with healthcare providers, provide access to affordable self-assessment and to provide treatment.

The use of technologies provides a greater degree of anonymity than what has been possible in the (public) health system thus far and this is often considered an advantage in reaching individuals who might not otherwise seek help due to fear of being stigmatized. Virtual, Augmented and/or Mixed Reality environments can potentially create new effective care models in the wider context of prevention of, education about and support for individuals affected by mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, addictive behaviours and substance abuse disorders.

The goal of this workshop is to provide an opportunity for VR/AR/MR researchers and Health researchers to submit their original ideas, work-in-progress contribution, demos and position papers on the design and/or evaluation of new mental health technologies aiding

  1. education
  2. self- assessment
  3. support to affected individuals, and
  4. Intervention

We are interested in theoretically, empirically, and/or methodologically oriented contributions focused on supporting and educating mental health delivered through novel designs and evaluations of on AR/VR/MR systems, with/without support of additional technologies such as Games, Social Media and Internet of Things. In addition to potential benefits, we would also like to receive contributions on potential dangers of using such technologies for addressing mental health issues.

Keywords: mental health, mhealth, VR, AR, MR, social media, gaming, internet of things


  • Nilufar Baghaei (PhD University of Canterbury, NZ)

    • Affiliation: Associate Professor & Head of Dept, OPAIC, New Zealand

    • Research interest: Artificial Intelligence in Education, Mixed and Augmented Reality, Game-based Learning, Persuasive Technology

    • Short bio: Nilufar has been an active researcher in the area of AIED and Human Computer Interaction for the past 14 years and has an extensive list of publications. She is currently the main guest editor for a Frontiers special issue on mobile technologies for mental health. Her Google Scholar profile (h-index: 16) can be accessed here:

  • Sylvia Hach (PhD Max Planck Institute, Germany; MA; BA University of Auckland, NZ)

    • Affiliation: Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Research interests: Major Depressive Disorder; mHealth & mobile Mental Health; Cerebrovascular Accidents & Stroke-related Perceptual and Attention Disorders; Perception of (Chronic/Acute) Pain; Somatosensation & Embodiment; Spatial Perception & Attention

    • Short bio: Sylvia has been an active researcher for over ten years and has covered a broad range of topics around (mental) health. Technology assisted mood self-assessment constitutes a recent area of interest and has included the development of a prototype mobile app and contributing to a special issue on mobile technologies for mental health as guest editor. Her Google Scholar profile can be accessed here:

  • Hai-Ning Liang ((PhD Western University, Canada)

    • Affiliation: Senior Associate Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University, Suzhou, China

    • Research interest: HCI, Virtual/Augmented Reality, Gaming Technologies, Information Visualization

    • Short bio: Hai-Ning Liang is the Deputy Director of the Suzhou Key Lab for Virtual Reality Technologies. His team is researching new interaction techniques for virtual and augmented technologies and applications in gaming, training, and learning. His Google Scholar profile can be accessed here

  • John Naslund (PhD Dartmouth College, USA)

    • Affiliation: Research Fellow in Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, USA

    • Research interests: Digital technology; mental health; severe mental disorders; youth mental health; implementation science; non-specialist health workers; social media; peer support; social disparities

    • Short bio: Dr. Naslund holds expertise in mental health epidemiology, research methods, implementation science, social disparities research, and digital mental health. His scholarship seeks to advance research aimed at improving the lives of individuals facing the challenges of mental illness worldwide. Dr. Naslund has led numerous projects testing novel digital methods for addressing symptoms of mental illness and risk factors for early mortality in persons living with serious mental illness. He currently leads efforts using digital technology for scaling up evidence-based mental health interventions delivered by community health workers in India. Dr. Naslund has a longstanding track record working alongside individuals living with serious mental illness and community mental health providers, and advocating for the rights, dignity, and quality of healthcare for those living with mental illness. His Google Scholar profile can be accessed here: