I had the extreme privilege and pleasure of attending and speaking at the 2nd annual AnxietyTech Conference in NYC on August 23, 2019.

This conference’s attendance was majority developers and UX designers with a healthy representation of consumers, advocates and researchers also.

There were two tracks. One track focused on stories of the lived digital experiences of what I will call “mental health proactives” either because they are taking an active interest in mental health whether well, suffering or in recovery. May these ranks grow as we wish for a world where more and more become proactive and more competent and skillful in this area.

The second track focused more on tech experience with a nice representation of teams presenting their ideas and plans and researchers & advocates showcasing their findings and projects, with a nice persistent theme about “responsible” and “sustainable” experience.

This conference felt very much like Dr. Becky Inkster’s DIMH Conference that she puts on in London every summer for the last 3 years. Whenever I attend one of these I think about how we can extend the reach of these type gatherings more broadly beyond the West to the Global East and South where MentalTech environments are also taking shape.

Hallmarks were Non-Commercial Feel & Consumer Focus

I found this conference refreshingly non-commercial. It is not that investors and commercial types were not in attendance, there was even one panel on this topic, but that the conversations and talks were not obsessively focused on financial investment and scale. Actually, it focused on factors which will more readily lead to scale, the development of responsible and empathetic solutions that more and more human beings, all with mental health by the way, will be willing to use persistently.

I also found it refreshingly consumer-focused making room for the lived stories and experiences of those who use, are creating, and even critiquing, MentalTech.

My Favorite Talk & Discoveries:

My most favorite examples from the track I was able to attend were:

Big kudos to this conference’s organizers, Jamund Ferguson and Kari Ferguson! I am a big fan as you can imagine and look forward to helping them continue to expand this part of the MentalTech movement.

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