IT4Anxiety - Managing anxiety via innovative technologies for better mental health

Project Summary

IT4Anxiety aims to support the implementation of innovative solutions through start-ups with the objective of reducing the anxiety of patients suffering from mental disorders

Technological innovations give new perspectives in many domains, including health. It was in this context that the IT4Anxiety project was born bringing together mental health professionals and startups, but also universities, research centers, higher education establishments and public authorities.

The project focuses more specifically on the creation and implementation of innovative solutions, in particular those related to digital technology, with the objective of reducing the anxiety of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer‘s disease) or post-traumatic stress disorder. These mental illnesses affect a growing number of patients in North-West Europe, due to ageing population trends.

Such innovative and technological solutions can also effectively complement conventional medical protocols. This is what we call "blended therapies", which are at the heart of the approach being developed via a number of work packages and activities in the IT4Anxiety project. More information on the work packages in the dedicated section "Project Structure".

In the end, we plan to co-create and implement 10 innovative solutions validated by mental health professionals and public organizations that will address the needs of around 3,000 patients facing anxiety disorders. The 15 startups involved in the project are expected to contribute to the creation of around 50 new jobs. In addition almost a thousand mental health professionals will benefit from our training systems.

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Project Partners

  • GAC Group

    30 Avenue des Châtelets

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  • Ulster University

    University of Ulster at Magee, Northland Road
    BT48 7JL
    United Kingdom

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  • National Health Services Western Isles

    37 South Beach Street
    Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
    UK HS1 2BB
    United Kingdom

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  • Haute Ecole de la Province de Namur

    192 Rue Henri Blès

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  • EPSM Lille Métropole – Centre Collaborateur OMS (CCOMS) pour la recherche et la formation en santé mentale de Lille

    BP. 10
    Armentières Cedex

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  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

    7 Van der Boechorststraat
    1081 BT

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  • Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

    69-71 Remterweg

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  • Namur-Europe-Wallonie asbl

    1 Place d'Armes

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  • Agence pour la Coopération Scientifique Afrique Luxembourg

    13 Avenue Gaston Diderich

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  • Brainscan BV

    1 Rondweg

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  • CNP Saint-Martin

    84 Rue Saint-Hubert

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Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
CNP Saint-Martin 84 Rue Saint-Hubert
Name Contact Name Email Country
GAC Group Jean-Charles Minier France
Ulster University Professor Joan Condell United Kingdom
National Health Services Western Isles Martin Malcolm United Kingdom
Haute Ecole de la Province de Namur Muriel Duliere Belgium
EPSM Lille Métropole – Centre Collaborateur OMS (CCOMS) pour la recherche et la formation en santé mentale de Lille Deborah Sebbane France
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Heleen Riper Netherlands
Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie Carolin Steuwe Germany
Namur-Europe-Wallonie asbl Rachel Husson Belgium
Agence pour la Coopération Scientifique Afrique Luxembourg Guy Tanonkou Luxembourg
Brainscan BV Marc Meddens Netherlands

IT4Anxiety is composed of 6 Work Packages (WPs) which have all a specific goal:

  • WP1 – Co-creation of innovative solutions starting from the needs

The first work package concerns the identification of the needs through a qualitative study based on discussion groups bringing together health professionals and mental health service users or their representatives. The study will also focus on the evaluation of innovative solutions already implemented in the care process. Based on the conclusions of the study, hackathons will be organised in several countries (Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium/Luxembourg and United Kingdom/Scotland) to proactively engage stakeholders in the co-creation of innovative solutions and their integration thereafter into the mental health care sector.

  • WP2 – Testing and validation of innovative tools

The second work package has been designed to address the lack of scientific validation of innovative e-health tools. It aims to develop a framework for testing and validating tools with mental health service users and start-ups in order to guarantee the effective implementation of these innovative solutions, especially from an ethical point of view. Support for 15 selected start-ups is also planned as part of this work package.

  • WP3 – Sustainable implementation of the innovative tools

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.

  • WP - Long term

The objective of this work package is to implement on the long-term the innovative tools with the participation of all relevant stakeholders of the mental health field by developing communication and dissemination actions targeting the relevant stakeholders of the mental health field, facing users with anxiety disorders. This work package will support the development of start-ups and the joining of a North-West European Cluster by creating its “Mental Health and New Technologies” branch. Joining a pre existing profitable structure will guarantee its sustainability. The ambition is to have a framework that is easily replicable and reusable in other regional contexts.

  • WP - Communication

This work package aims at maximising the impact of the project, widening the development and implementation of innovative tools targeted to anxiety users by reaching a wide panel of stakeholders, including users, professionals and the start-ups environment.

  • WP – Management

This last work package is dedicated to the day-to-day management of the project’s implementation. The aim is to ensure the successful implementation of the project activities and the cohesion between all the consortium partners and sub-partners.

Partners and subpartners

Haute Ecole Libre Mosane

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Subpartner - Haute Ecole Libre Mosane (HELMo) was born in 2008 out of the merging of Hautes Ecoles HEMES and ISELL, becoming the only college of the Catholic network in the Province of Liège. HELMo now proposes 36 very diverse training paths in economics, paramedical pedagogical, education, social and technical training, at bachelor and master levels. With 9,000 students and 900 staff members, HELMo is one of the largest “Hautes Ecoles” in French-speaking Belgium. Read More

G.A.C. group

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Partner - GAC Group is an international innovation consultancy firm specialised in innovation performance support (18M+ sales revenue in 2019). It was established in 2002 and employs 200+ specialists, mostly with PhD or MSc, spread across Europe, South America, Canada and Southeast Asia. Read More


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Subpartner - In-Spir is a solution of smart fragrances diffusers. We create immersive experiences for patients and for the medical staff, to improve comfort and reduce anxiety or stress. Our technology is based on "dry diffusion", that enables us to control every parameter on the diffuser, and to create a personalized program. Read More


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Subpartner - Eldom is a French startup located in Brittany which creates light without electricity from photoluminescence, a technology made from natural minerals that can absorb daylight and emit light in darkness. Read More

Ulster University

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Partner - With a progressive approach to teaching, dedication to pushing research boundaries and a strong commitment to economic development, UU is a responsive, dynamic vibrant centre of learning. As a regional university, Ulster is uniquely placed to engage with communities, with local leaders and with imaginative partners who share ambitions for Northern Ireland and its young people. Ulster’s reach extends beyond the immediate locality having forged strong alliances with a wide range of partners. Read More

EPSM Lille Métropole

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Partner - EPSM's mission is to care for mental health problems, providing regional mental health services in the Lille metropole, for prevention, diagnosis and care, for adults and children. EPSM has a broad regional, national and international network and has 10 offices in the metropole region of Lille. Read More


Our second Hackathon is coming up very soon !

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Next October 29th and 30th will take place the second IT4Anxiety Hackathon at the Evanglisches Klinikum Bethel in cooperation with Bielefeld University in Germany. This edition will be held online. IT4Anxiety is an Interreg project and aims at supporting the implementation of start-ups’ innovative solutions reducing the anxiety of patients suffering from mental disorders. Read More

Covering the IT4Anxiety Partnership Vacancy

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The Ulster University (UU) team is leading WP2 (Technical piloting and validation) in the IT4Anxiety project. UU has guided members of the Validation Committee to cover an existing partner vacancy within the project with the most suitable start-ups, having or developing technology solutions in mental health, to fulfil the rapidly changing needs of the IT4Anxiety project. Read More


We have a unique opportunity for innovative start-ups to join the consortium !


We are looking for a start-up/SME:

  • developing innovative & impacting tools for the management of anxiety in the mental health context (Alzheimer's or PTSD)
  • developing projects at any research and development stages to allow consolidating more established products or conceive new ideas
  • able to test their product within the project timeframe (until September 2023)
  • committed to develop and test 1 prototype for patients to improve their well-being and recovery within the time frame of the project


What is in it for you ? 

  • You will become a member of the European Interreg IT4Anxiety project, benefiting from its spotlight and rich network. For example, we will showcase your solutions and company through our network (on our website, social media accounts, videos, etc.), and invite you to our events (focus groups, hackathons, conferences...).
  • You will be able to exchange knowledge and experience with mental health professionals and institutions from other countries participating in the project to build a tailor-made solution answering patiens' needs.
  • You will have the possibility to benefit from testing and validation opportunities with patients from the mental health sector. In collaboration with the consortium members, solutions will indeed be introduced and tested in participating hospitals, clinics, community health teams, and nursing homes. 
  • Our project ethic committee will support and advise you on the ethics and legal requirements for clinical testing.
  • While preparing your testing protocol, you will receive guidance and advice to consider the impact of your solution in a real health-care setting including alignment with leading eHealth technology assessment frameworks streamlining the testing with requirements from relevant regulatory organisations.
  • Training modules for the use of the innovative solutions will be organised in several health establishments in which your solution could, therefore, be embedded into it.
  • budget over to 350K€ is available within the project (financed to 60% by FEDER). This will be divided between the selected start-ups. This means that you need to find 40% of the funding yourself.
  • The HQ of the company should be located in one of the 6 countries partners of the IT4Anxiety project: Belgium, France, Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and United Kingdom.


Timeline to develop and test your solution


How could you join the project ? 

You can either apply directly to the Start-up validation Committee by first answering this questionnaire (if you pass this first filter, the committee will send you a form to complete):

Deadline: we will be opened for application from now until November the 30th 2020.


by winning a hackathon or being recognised as a top idea (even if not winning) and being approved by the start-up validation Committee. Agenda of hackathons : Link


Timeline to fill in the partner vacancy

What is a hackathon?

A hackathon is a one or two day event gathering different stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds, working together in teams in order to co-create or develop new ideas.

What is our goal?

As the population in North-West Europe is aging, the prevalence of people living with Alzheimer Disease or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is also growing. The management of anxiety is crucial for both mental health conditions. The COVID-19 healthcare crisis and lockdown measures put in place led to an increase in the digitalisation of health care. IT4Anxiety aims at working together with mental health professionals, carers and mental health service users to co-create and implement innovative solutions meeting the users’ needs.

As part of IT4Anxiety project, the consortium will be organising several hackathons in 6 European countries – dates and places are provided below.

The goal of the hackathons is to proactively engage with stakeholders in the co-creation of innovative solutions answering the needs of mental health professionals, carers and mental health service users in terms of anxiety management. The project team will conduct a comprehensive survey in order to understand the needs around the use of digital tools and technological solutions and define the main themes of the hackathons. This survey will be targeting mental / health care professionals, carers and mental health service users.

How will the Hackathons be organised?

A short session will introduce the main themes and identified needs of IT4Anxiety Hackathon to guide the start-ups and teams in this process. The programme will offer inspirational talks around e-Mental-/Health, workshops, coaching and pitching. The teams will be composed of: start-ups, students, mental / health professionals, carers and mental health service users. They will have a dedicated time to gather and work together to then present the prototype of the services or products they wish to develop to a jury at the end of the event. Two or three winning solutions will be selected to see the opportunity to be part of IT4Anxiety project.

Who can participate?

  • Mental / health professionals, carers, mental health service users;
  • Start-ups and SMEs from the e-mental health sector or e-health sector looking to develop their activities in e-mental health;
  • PhD Students (or students graduating soon) in medicine, mental health or in engineering, entrepreneurship

What is in it for you?

The IT4Anxiety hackathons offer many opportunities including:

  • enhancing collaborative work beyond the hackathon with the team members (e.g. creation of a start-up, takeover of an idea by an existing start-up, hiring by a start-up of a participant on a permanent basis or via an internship for students, etc.)
  • networking among the various partners and groups involved in the project
  • for the winners: joining the IT4Anxiety project as a member and accessing financing programme

Where and when?

Hackathon 1: 18th-19th March 2021 in Amsterdam

Register for this first Hackathon by following the link: VU Hackathon Battle Tickets | Eventbrite

Join directly on the 18th March 2021 at 3:15PM by following the link: Amsterdam Hackathon

Hackathon 2: 29-30th October 2021 in Germany 

Subscribe to the hackathon here:

Hackathon 3: 19th-20th January 2022 in France

Subscribe to the hackathon here: link

Hackathon 4: February 2022 in UK/Scotland

Hackathon 5: March 2022 in Belgium/Luxembourg

Precise dates will be communicated at a later stage.

How to apply?

To participate at the hackathons please follow the link and complete the application form: link will be communicated soon

Our Idea Box

You have some ideas and thoughts to share with our team ? Please follow the link ! Thank you very much for your ideas ! They are valuable to us and we will take great care to consider them !

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