New Models in Mental Health Care

Mental health has long lagged behind the rest of medicine in adopting new technologies — but now mental health is joining in the rest of the digital health revolution by employing technology to create new and better treatments, to better diagnose mental illnesses, to monitor patient progress, to facilitate mental wellness and prevention programs and to put more control of care in the hands of patients. These technologies are poised to radically reshape how we approach mental health and we will soon see technology such as virtual reality, augmented reality, medical devices, speech and text analysis, apps and wearables transform our mental health system.

On January 26, 2019, TEDxMileHigh Adventurers gathered with the National Mental Health Innovation Center to demo many of the emerging technologies being developed for mental health followed by a live taping of Crazed, the inaugural mental health innovation podcast with TEDxMileHigh speaker Matt Vogl and special guest Dr. Walter Greenleaf, a Stanford-based neuroscientist who is one of the founders of the field of using virtual reality for behavior change. The team delved into new and surprising uses for VR as a treatment in the mental health care field, but also into the ethics that should guide these emerging therapies. “Technology needs to be shaped in a way that is more humanistic,” explained Dr. Greenleaf.

Along with the National Mental Health Innovation Center, we teamed up with the Tech Innovation Network (TIN), a first-of-its-kind national network of diverse clinical and community partners that functions as a test bed through which new technological solutions can be rapidly developed, iterated, tested and validated. From technology assisted meditation, to life-skills and re-entry training, to everyday therapy for children with behavioral issues, Adventurers that the chance to demo emerging virtual reality technologies.

Crazed Podcast logo

Be sure to check out the Crazed podcast, as their team shines light on innovations in mental health and the influencers, disrupters and leaders behind those ideas.


Matt Vogl, MPH is the Executive Director and founder of the National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC) at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, where he leads a team to better treat and prevent mental illness. Previously, Matt was the Deputy Director of the University of Colorado Depression Center. He earned a BA from Marquette University and a Masters of Public Health from the University of Minnesota. Matt was a standup comic for 12 years and is a diehard St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. He has two sons with his amazing wife.

Walter Greenleaf, PhD, is the Director of Technology Strategy at National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC). Walter is a leading authority in virtual and augmented reality and is recognized internationally as one of the founders of the field. He is a behavioral neuroscientist and a medical product developer who has been on the cutting edge of VR/AR applications in healthcare for more than 30 years. He has developed several clinical product streams, founded medical companies, and served as a scientific advisor and reviewer for the U.S. Public Health Service, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, NASA and the U.S. Department of Education. Walter holds a PhD in
Neuro and Bio-behavioral Sciences from Stanford University.

The National Mental Health Innovation Center looks beyond our current mental healthcare system – to find bold new solutions that can be quickly and effectively scaled to help more people, earlier. NMHIC works to find, develop and put into practice big new ideas to prevent, treat and change the way people think about mental illness.

Watch Matt Vogl’s TEDxMileHigh Talk!