The 2nd International Workshop on the Semantics of Mental Health (SemanticMH 2019)

In conjunction with the 7th IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (ICHI 2019)

To be held in Xi'an, China

June 10, 2019


The 1st International Workshop on the Semantics of Mental Health (SemanticMH 2018) was successfully organized and hosted in conjunction with the sixth IEEE International Conference on Healthcare Informatics (ICHI 2018) on June 7th, 2018 in New York City, NY, USA. Overall, we received 7 high quality submissions and we accepted 6 of them. The accepted papers were published in the IEEE ICHI 2018 workshop proceedings; and we invited the authors of these 6 accepted papers to submit an extended journal version to a special issue (“Special Issue: Semantics of Mental Health”) in the Health Informatics Journal (IF 3.021). All authors presented their work in ICHI 2018; and we have invited two keynote speakers (i.e., Drs. Jessie Tenenbaum and Piper Ranallo) from the Mental Health Informatics Working Group (WG) of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) to present a report from the WG titled, “Mental Health Informatics and Knowledge Representation.” Overall, SemanticsMH 2018 was highly successful and facilitated the exchange of scholar ideas from a group of interdisciplinary researches.


Mental health is an increasingly important topic in healthcare. Based on the data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in the United States 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness, and nearly 1 in 25 live with a serious mental illness. Mental health issues often lead to serious adverse consequences including suicidality. The annual suicide rate in the US has climbed over the past several decades, such that suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death and is associated with $51 billion in annual economic impacts. Further, the rates for many other mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression without suicidality, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and substance use disorders are also alarming. In recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems, leading to an unprecedented expansion in the availability of dense longitudinal datasets for clinical and translational research including those for psychiatric disorders. Meanwhile, the rapidly increasing, huge archives of consumer data from social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook also provide unprecedented opportunities to access a broad population with mental health issues and suicidality. The real-time information flow on social media makes it possible to monitor and provide early interventions to potential at-risk users, which is imperative for suicide prevention. Therefore, recent years have witnessed a rapid growth of “big data” studies aiming to extract and study risk factors, phenotyping information, and human behaviors from EHRs and social media data. Nevertheless, these extracted data are rarely standardized and have poor semantic interoperability. These heterogeneous datasets need to be formally represented using an ontological and semantic framework for downstream analyses, applications, and reasoning. However, psychiatric information often shows very unique characteristics, such as subjective descriptions of patient experience and idiosyncratic psychosocial backgrounds, leading to challenges of data sparseness and diversity. Novel natural language processing and ontology technologies are needed to address these challenges.

Call For Paper

We are inviting original research submissions (FULL 8 pages), work-in-progress (SHORT 4 pages), and poster abstracts (2 pages, NEW TYPE). All the accepted submissions will be presented in MentalHealth 2019 and published in the IEEE ICHI 2019 Proceedings (in IEEE Xplore Digital Library); Selected FULL/SHORT papers will be invited to publish an extended version in a special issue of a journal (TBD). Last year, selected papers were published in the Health Informatics Journal (IF: 3.021). Selected high-quality SHORT papers will also be invited to submit an extended version to the journal supplement for consideration. Note: If a paper is selected for possible journal publication, the authors will be asked to shorten their workshop paper to be published in the ICHI 2019 Proceedings and then submit the journal version after the workshop. The authors can still choose to publish their full papers in the conference proceedings, in which case however, the authors will NOT be eligible to publish in the journal supplement due to the journal's self-plagiarism concern.

Paper submission deadline: March 31, 2019

Notification of acceptance: April 15, 2019

Camera ready submission deadline: May 3, 2019


We are inviting original research submissions as well as work-in-progress. Topics of interest include but not limited to:

  • Natural language processing
    • Information extraction and retrieval
    • Text mining
    • Linguistic resources
    • Statistical and knowledge-based methods
    • Machine learning for NLP
    • Sentiment analysis

  • Ontology
    • Ontology development and enrichment
    • Semantic harmonization and ontology alignment
    • Knowledge representation and reasoning
    • Formal approaches to semantics

  • Application based on natural language processing and ontology
    • Risk factor detection and predictive modeling for mental disorders, such as hospital readmission and suicide attempts
    • Early stage surveillance of mental disorders and suicidal events
    • Algorithmic phenotyping and cohort identification


Jiang Bian, PhD, Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Cui Tao, PhD, School of Biomedical Informatics, The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA

Jennifer Dahne, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

Yaoyun Zhang, PhD, School of Biomedical Informatics, University of Texas Health Center at Houston, USA

Yi Guo, PhD, Department of Health Outcomes & Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Technical Program Committee

Comming Soon...

Workshop Schedule

The 2nd International Workshop on the Semantics of Mental Health
Time Title Presenter
9:00 am - 10:00 am Keynote
10:00 am - 10:25 am Assessing depression risk in Chinese microblogs: a corpus and machine learning methods Shuai Chen
10:30 am - 11:00 am Coffee Break
11:00 am - 11:25 am Analysis of Twitter to Identify Topics Related to Eating Disorder Symptoms Sicheng Zhou
11:25 am - 11:50 am PSPS: A pharmacological substances prediction system based on biomedical literature,data Jinhe Gao
11:50 am - 12:15 pm Combining Clinical Data and Domain Knowledge for Analyzing Mental Disorder Concept Relatedness,and Usage Dou Wei
12:15 pm - 12:40 pm STAT: A Web-based Semantic Text Annotation Tool to Assist Building Mental Health Knowledge Base Xing He
12:40 pm - 1:05 pm Systematic Design of Drug Repurposing-oriented Alzheimer’s Disease Ontology Cui Tao

Contact: Jiang Bian;