Virtual Ability Presents
the 8th Annual
Mental Health Symposium 2019
“Mental Health in the 21st Century: Digital Destruction or Support?”
Friday, April 26, 2019
Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island
In Second Life

Please join the Virtual Ability community in Second Life for the eighth annual Mental Health Symposium. It will be held on Friday, April 26, 2019.  There is no charge to attend.

The theme of this Symposium is “Mental Health in the 21st Century: Digital Destruction or Support?” Our international group of presenters will offer a wide interpretation of the theme, based on their interests and academic backgrounds.

The Symposium will take place in Virtual Ability’s Sojourner Auditorium, on Virtual Ability island. The SLURL for the auditorium is: Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island.

The Virtual Ability community hosts this annual Symposium to share information about mental health and mental disabilities with the general population. Within our cross-disability community we have members who deal with a variety of mental health issues. Not only is this an opportunity for our community members to learn more about topics related to mental health from experts they probably would not have a chance to meet otherwise, it allows the general public to attend a professional conference at no cost.

Below is the current list of confirmed presenters.  Check back here frequently for updates!


Confirmed Presenters


Michelle Colder Carras
Michelle Colder Carras is a public mental health researcher and informaticist who specializes in normative and problematic media and technology use. Her expertise is in public mental health, epidemiology, evidence development, and qualitative/mixed methods research techniques. Her most recent work has focused on how commercial video games can be useful for mental health and suicide prevention. She is a gamer, a mother, a hiker, and a person with bipolar disorder. You can find more information on her website,

Antonius (Tony) J. van Rooij
Antonius (Tony) J. van Rooij is Project Leader for Gaming, Gambling and Media Literacy at the Trimbos Instituut, the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction, Utrecht, the Netherlands. He promotes the responsible and healthy use of video games. He is experienced in development of serious games, game-based learning and mental illness assessment. He has done research on behavioral addictions and social care.

Nicholas (Nick) Bowman
Nicholas Bowman is an associate professor at the Interaction Lab of the Department of Communication Studies, West Virginia University, US. He is interested in how communication technology affects the way we interact, and in particular the impact of video games and social media. He views entertainment technology as a place for learning and community discourse

Fatemeh Rezaee
Fatemeh Rezaee is a Ph.D candidate at Seoul National University. Her research interests lie in the area of cyber space, focusing on Internet and smartphone addiction and the design behind social media platforms that lead to users’ obsessive behaviors. She is currently working on designing platforms which respect users’ time through studying ad-dependent platforms that are exploiting human psychology to create deliberate addiction and excessive user engagement.

Evelyn McElhinney
Evelyn McElhinney is a Senior Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University (Scotland). Her research interests lie in the area of emerging and immersive technologies for health and wellbeing. Her Ph.D was conducted fully within Second Life and consisted of two studies – one investigating the health literacy skills and practices of people in the social virtual world and the influence on physical world behaviour, and the other investigated the importance of people and place to living and coping with long term conditions in the physical world. She has also taught nurse practitioners within Second Life.

Kevin Holloway
Kevin Holloway is the Director of Training and Education at the Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD (US). A licensed clinical psychologist, he works in the areas of deployment behavioral health and evidence-based therapies for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is particularly interested in technology solutions, including virtual world simulations, to improve access to and quality of professional training.