The IT4Anxiety first press release

The IT4Anxiety project has been launched!

The IT4Anxiety project was officially launched on the 9th and 10th of March 2020 with a Kick-off meeting held in Amsterdam. It was the opportunity for the 12 partners from North-West Europe (NWE) to meet and discuss the project. IT4Anxiety will focus on creating and implementing innovative solutions aiming at reducing the anxiety of patients suffering from Alzheimer or post-traumatic stress disorders. Therefore, it will bring together mental health professionals with start-ups, universities, research centres, higher education establishments and public authorities.

This project is particularly relevant in the NWE region as the prevalence of the Alzheimer’s disease and posttraumatic stress disorder is higher (1,31% and 2,1%) compared to the rest of Europe (0,95% and 1,73%). In both mental health conditions, one of the most crucial challenges is the management of anxiety.

Moreover, the current situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been and will have many psychological impacts on the whole population. Indeed, a study published in The Lancet has highlighted that the duration of the lockdown has an impact on people’s general state of stress and more specifically, that a lockdown during more than 10 days can engender post-traumatic symptoms, avoidance behaviours and anger.   New technologies are deployed in order to answer to the health-related needs and the main public health issues. The IT4Anxiety project will contribute to solve these main issues through the solutions deployed, the main outcomes and activities of the project.

The first part of the project will focus on identifying the health professionals’ and patients’ needs. Based on those needs, five hackathons aiming at co-creating and integrating 10 innovative solutions will be organised. The first hackathon should be organised in Brittany (France) in October 2020.

Then, the innovative solutions will be tested and validated with patients, start-ups, mental health professionals and public authorities. Moreover, 15 selected start-ups will be supported to introduce their innovative tools on the eHealth market. Four start-ups have already been identified and are developing innovative e-solutions: In-Spir (FRA), Eldom (FRA), Sentimentics (NL) and Brainscan (NL). For example, the start-up Eldom is developing a photoluminescence device which reduces patients’ night anxiety (as illustrated in the figure 1) and Sentimentics offers algorithms in order to create more humanlike and intelligent interaction between computer and patient, by using speech-to-text which enables speech-to-emotion.

In the last part of the project, several activities will be implemented with the aim to facilitate the introduction of innovative e-solutions in health establishments as the organisation of trainings for health professionals and future health professionals and the development of a job profile of eMental health referent.

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The IT4AAnxiety team


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