Is digital technology the future of mental health interventions?

With digital options having become an essential part of our lives in the last 18 months, technology and online options are here to stay. As we look at the lessons learned, we also have an opportunity to consider what the future of mental health support looks like. Richmond’s 2021 Annual Conference this year will be taking place ONLINE and will be exploring the different facets of technology and e-Mental Health services.

With the majority of people owning a smartphone, access to help has become one tap away. Digital options are often convenient, low in cost and offer anonymity to the person seeking help. They can range from professional online help chats available 24/7 to the burst in development of mental health apps observed in the market over recent years. In-built sensors in the person’s smartphone can collect information on typical behavioural patterns, that can help monitor if the person is more or less active. Social networking sites offer a plethora of information to help us better understand online behaviour, and researchers can collect people’s online gambling habits to make data-driven responsible gaming recommendations. Telehealth options mean you can attend your therapy appointment without leaving your home.

Despite its endless possibilities, technology remains heavily scrutinised. Whilst there seems to be a consensus amongst professionals that digital interventions can offer a variety of benefits, there are many concerns about its use in the real world. What does the implementation of e-mental health solutions look like? Are online interventions as effective as in-person support? What security and privacy risks must we be aware of? Most importantly, how can we ensure access for all, that those who most need mental health care are not left behind?


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Richmond Annual Conference 18th - 19th November, 2021

Join us on the 18th and 19th November as our expert speakers address these themes and more. Our Q&A sessions will also provide you with the opportunity to have your questions answered. Our programme and full list of guest speakers is available below.

Thursday 18th November, 2021

Welcome Address

Ms. Stephania Dimech Sant, Richmond’s Chief Executive Officer

Opening Speech

Dr John Cachia, Commissioner for Mental Health

Technological addictions and psychological wellbeing before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. Mark Griffiths, Professor, Nottingham Trent University

Digital Natives and the use of VR in different settings

Prof Alexiei Dingli, University of Malta

The Digital Workplace: How technology can help or hinder employee engagement, development, and wellbeing

Gordon Grech, Co-Founder of Arkafort

Taking Mental Health Services in Malta into the next frontier – The Digital Decade

Dr. Stefan Buttigieg, Co-founder of Digital Health Malta and Specialist in Public Health Medicine

File Not Found - The rapid transition to EHR during the COVID pandemic

Dr. Patrick Abela


Friday 19th November, 2021

Welcome Address

Ms. Stephania Dimech Sant, Richmond’s Chief Executive Officer

COVID-19 : The black swan for digital mental health interventions in routine care?

Prof Dr. Heleen Riper, Professor of eMental-Health at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Creating a mental health chatline: lessons learned


Virtual Reality: Domestic Violence Simulation tool 'Don't Forget Me'

Insp. Sylvana Gafa, Victim Support Unit

Improving physical health behaviours & outcomes in mental healthcare: the unrealised potential of mHealth technology

Dr Joseph Firth, UKRI Future Leaders Fellow, University of Manchester, Honorary Fellow, Western Sydney University

Finding our feet: Digital mental health for youth

Dr Bridianne O’Dea, Senior Research Fellow at the Black Dog Institute, Australia

Social media use, smartphone use, and age demographics

Dr. Zaheer Hussain, researcher and senior lecturer in psychology at Nottingham Trent University


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