Mental Health Symposium, 31 July 2019

Tackling the mental health crisis with technology

Over the last 50 years, mental health and addiction services in New Zealand have moved from an institutional model of care to a recovery model of care that is continually evolving.

Government-led investment into mental health and addiction have resulted in the establishment of a wide range of community, kaupapa Māori, specialist and acute services. Ring-fenced funding for mental health and addiction services has steadily grown to $1.4 billion in 2016/17.

Despite these achievements, the sector faces dynamic challenges. We know that mental health outcomes continue to be inequitable in New Zealand. This includes Māori, the Pacific community, people with disabilities, people of the rainbow community, and refugees to mention a few who disproportionately experience mental health challenges.

There are also a group of New Zealanders with moderate mental health needs who are not easily managed in primary care and at the same time, do not meet the threshold for specialist care. This can result in their needs not being fully met and further affecting their well-being.

Because mental health is multifaceted, we as a community must work together with individuals and organisations, both public and private to understand how to improve the mental health and of New Zealanders from different angles.

This symposium brings together 5 organisations who are doing just that. While technology and mental well-being might seem like antagonistic terms, our speakers for the symposium are using the power of technology to aid in tackling the mental health crisis our nation faces.

The "Tackling the mental health crisis with technology" symposium is part of the HealthTech Symposium Series.

Event and ticket information

Wednesday, 31 July

 4:00 pm to 8:30 pm

@Tech Futures Lab
22 McColl Street, Newmarket, Auckland

Early bird tickets (until 10 July)
$89 (incl GST)

General admission ticket price (after 10 July)
$99 (incl GST)

  • 4:00 pm Networking and afternoon tea

  • 4:20 pm Welcome address and introduction to speaker sessions

  • 4:30 pm Speaker sessions

  • 7:00 pm Panel discussion over light dinner and drinks

  • 8:30 pm Event concludes

Who should attend?

​If mental health and well-being in our communities and our workspaces piques your curiosity, this symposium is for you. Our speakers offer an insightful confluence of ideas and experiences to learn from.

Benefits of attending
  • Genuine learning and practical insight regarding the application of technology as an adjunct to tackle the mental health crisis

  • An opportunity to hear from pre-eminent voices in the mental health and technology arena

  • A platform to ask questions and challenge your thinking around mental health

Speaker Profiles
Tom Varghese (MC)

Tom Varghese (an orthodontist turned healthtech futurist) curates and runs the HealthTech Symposium Series in partnership with the Tech Futures Lab, Auckland. The previous symposiums in this series have addressed pressing healthcare issues being tackled through the use of modern day technology with the aim of spreading awareness and starting conversations. Tom is a health tech futurist who is passionate about solving the challenges in healthcare today using technology and spreading awareness about the same going forward.

Liz Ashall-Payne

CEO & Founder 

Inu Akerei Maresala-Thomson

A&K Thomson Ltd

Co-founder of free community app MYRIVR

Akerei proudly hails from Otara - the innovation capital of the world! He is the Managing Director of A&K Thomson Limited, award winning leader and Co-Founder of the multi
award winning free community app MYRIVR, the largest in app directory in NZ. Previous
roles include, he was the former General Manager of the Village Collective, an innovative
NGO delivering sexual health prevention programmes across NZ. He also served for 12 years in the New Zealand Police Service as a ranking Senior Sergeant holding various portfolios including intelligence, crime prevention, domestic violence, community engagement and emergency response roles. As a former youth gang member and child sexual abuse survivor, he is passionate about prevention advocacy roles and innovations for positive social outcomes. In 2018 he became a White Ribbon NZ Ambassador and also launched a global child sexual abuse prevention project in partnership with America.

Anil Thapliyal


Adjunct Professor Anil Thapliyal has a passion for improving people’s health and wellbeing through the application of information communication technology seamlessly integrated within people’s health care. 

Based on his longstanding work with the National Depression Initiative (The Lowdown and The Journal), in New Zealand, he decided to focus on the broader e-Mental Health domain and is professionally focused on the implementation of E-Mental Health programmes and services.  As a result, his work now is at the interface of the e-Mental Health Implementation Science which involves active consideration of 1) policy imperatives (public health, Primary Care, Secondary Care), 2) service user engagement in co-design, 3) evidence based approaches (Science), 4) collaboration with the industry and 5) aligning tools within the clinical workflow of practice environment & workforce development considerations.

Scott Arrol

CEO & Director

NZHIT - New Zealand Health IT

Scott has spent the past 18+ years at the forefront of significant growth and service delivery changes in both the home-based and aged care sectors along with other key areas of the community health and early childhood education sectors. Scott has held leadership roles in significant organisations including Healthcare of New Zealand, Radius Health and Kindercare. A member of the NZ Institute of Directors, Scott commenced as CEO of NZHIT in mid-2014 and has led its transformation from a narrowly focussed association to the leading peak body for New Zealand’s digital health industry sector.

Angela Lim

CEO & Co-founder


Dr. Angela Lim is a paediatric trainee as well as CEO and co-founder of Clearhead. Clearhead is a one-stop online platform for mental health and wellbeing. It is New Zealand's first AI driven diagnostic and triage tool provided directly to the public. With the aim of improving access and personalisation of care by providing choice, convenience and control to the consumer.



Tech Futures Lab is a learning environment like no other. We’re all about people. People with ideas who experiment, fail fast, collaborate, and design innovative, tech-enabled solutions and businesses fit for the new world, for a new future.

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Tom is a health tech futurist whose mission is to enable easy, affordable and sustainable healthcare for all New Zealanders using exponential technology. He is passionate about solving the challenges in healthcare today and going forward.


+64 (0) 223527217

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Please contact us at Tech Futures Lab to let us know how we can make this event accessible to you. We currently do not have wheelchair access, however please let us know in advance of the event and we will do everything we can to accommodate you (this could include recording the event and making it available to you afterwards).


22 McColl Street


Auckland 1023

New Zealand


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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.