International Conference on Urban Mental Health

Amsterdam, October 7th, 2022

You are invited to join our first International Conference on Urban Mental Health #ICoUMH hosted by the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. Register below.


When: October 7
Where: The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) at The Trippenhuis.


Conference Day with Keynote Speakers and Parallel Sessions


Who should attend?

The conference is open to practitioners, academics, policymakers, students, supporters, and allies who are interested in sharing best practices and learning more about mental health in the city, with a focus on interdisciplinary research with complexity science as a backbone.


The purpose of this conference is to bring together professionals and interested associates to a one-day knowledge exchange conference.


This conference aims to:

1. Forge a dialogue with researchers across various domains from a complexity science perspective

2. Discuss strategies for modelling mental health in the city

3. Share best practices for developing interventions to improve mental health in the city

The day’s keynote speakers are as follows (more information to come):

  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg (Professor in the Medical Faculty Mannheim at Heidelberg University)

  • Prof. Dr. Andrea Wittenborn (Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University)

  • Prof. Dr. Claudi Bockting (Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry and co-director of the Center for Urban Mental Health at the University of Amsterdam)

  • Prof. Dr. Reinout Wiers (Professor of Developmental Psychopathology and co-director of the Center for Urban Mental Health at the University of Amsterdam)

  • Prof. Dr. Peter Sloot (Professor of Complex Adaptive Systems at the University of Amsterdam)

  • Prof. Dr. Sandro Galea (Dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health)

  • Prof. Dr. Ronald Dahl (Director of the Institute of Human Development at UC Berkeley)


With special guest: The Mental Elf!


Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, Ph.D.

Prof. Meyer-Lindenberg is Director of the Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Institute, based in Mannheim, Germany, and Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany. He is board certified in psychiatry, psychotherapy, neurology. Before coming to Mannheim in 2007, he spent ten years as a scientist at the National Institutes of Mental Health, Bethesda, USA. His research interests focus on the development of novel treatments for severe psychiatric disorders through an application of multimodal neuroimaging, genetics and enviromics to characterize brain circuits underlying the risk for mental illness. He is the author of more than 480 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and is continuously named as one of the most highly cited scientists in the world (www.isihighlycited.com). He is the Editor-in-Chief of the new Journal of the ECNP Neuroscience Applied.

Andrea Wittenborn, Ph.D.

Dr. Andrea Wittenborn is Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. She is Director of the Couple and Family Therapy Doctoral Program and holds an appointment in the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Her programmatic research seeks to improve outcomes of interventions for depression. As a clinical researcher, she tests interventions that target interpersonal mechanisms of depression. She also tests the implementation of effective interventions for depression. She is currently leading a multi-site study of the implementation of Collaborative Care in family medicine practices for depression among pregnant and post-partum women. In addition, her research explores methods for personalizing treatment for depression. She uses a systems approach to understand the complex etiology of depression and test interventions for diverse patient profiles in simulation studies.

Claudi L. H. Bockting, Ph.D.

Claudi Bockting specializes in common mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, which are characterized by disturbances in emotions. She focuses in particular on potentially modifiable factors that cause and/or perpetuate a disorder and the development of innovative psychological interventions, including apps, serious games, chatbots and virtual reality interventions. She applies insights from other fields of science such as complex systems to develop new approaches for promoting mental well-being and preventing and treating mental disorders. In addition to being Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry and co-director of the Centre for Urban Mental Health, Bockting is also a clinical psychologist/psychotherapist at Amsterdam UMC. She is also, among other things, chairperson of the European Association of Clinical Psychology and Psychological Treatment (EACLIPT).

Reinout W. Wiers, Ph.D.

Reinout Wiers is professor of developmental psychopathology at the Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam. Reinout does research in Abnormal Psychology, Clinical Psychology and Developmental Psychopathology. He is head of the Addiction Development and Psychopathology (ADAPT) lab. He was awarded the prestigious Vidi and Vici grants from NWO for his work on measuring and influencing neurocognitive processes in addiction. He has published more than 100 scientific articles in this field and has also written many book chapters and books for both his peers and the general public. In 2007 he published Slave of the unconscious. About emotion, consciousness and addiction.

Peter Sloot, Ph.D.

Peter Sloot is a distinguished Research Professor at the University of Amsterdam, Professor of Advanced Computing at the ITMO research institute in St. Petersburg, and Professor of Complex Systems at NTU, Singapore. His research interests are trying to understand how nature processes information. He studies this 'natural information processing' in complex systems by computational modeling and simulation as well as through formal methods. His work is applied to a large variety of disciplines with a focus on -but not limited to Biomedicine. Recent work is on modeling the virology and epidemiology of infectious diseases, notably HIV, through Complex Networks, Cellular Automata, and Multi-Agents. Recently in his work, I tries to build bridges to socio-dynamics. Currently, he is leading two large EU projects: ViroLab andDynaNets and supervises research from various NIH, NSF and NWO, and Royal Academy projects.

Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH

Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, and author, is dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He previously held academic and leadership positions at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the New York Academy of Medicine. He has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature, and is a regular contributor to a range of public media, about the social causes of health, mental health, and the consequences of trauma. He has been listed as one of the most widely cited scholars in the social sciences. He is past chair of the board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Galea has received several lifetime achievement awards. Galea holds a medical degree from the University of Toronto, graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow.

Ronald E. Dahl MD
Ron Dahl is the Director of the Institute of Human Development and

Distinguished Professor, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. He is a pediatrician and developmental scientist with more than 30 years of experience leading interdisciplinary research teams advancing understanding of child and adolescent development, behavioral/emotional health in youth, adolescent brain development, and the clinical, public health, and policy implications of this work. A central goal of his current research focuses on the vulnerabilities and opportunities being created by rapid changes in the ways information technology is influencing learning and development. He was the Founding Director of the Center for the Developing Adolescent and served as President of the Society for Research in Child Development


Why the focus on urban mental health?

There is much to gain from urban mental health research. Urban living is on the rise: more than 50 percent of the world’s population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050. Urban environments are characterised by features that make city life not only economically attractive and exciting, but also more challenging and stressful than rural environments (‘urban stress’). This environment influences mental health. Therefore, the Centre for Urban Mental Health benefits society by using joint approaches to new interventions and policy-making focused on the promotion of mental health.

Please Note: There is an invitational conference on October 6 and October 8.


Day 1 (October 6): Joint Expert Meetings in the afternoon

Day 2 (October 7): Full Day Congress

Day 3 (October 8): Workshops in the morning (to be announced)