In The News

July 17, 2018
The Marshall Project

A View of Tomorrow;   With virtual reality, juvenile lifers practice for a world they may experience. 

“The Alaska DOC is planning on implementing VR sessions to help offenders cope with the state’s long and dark winters. The DOC has joined with a Colorado-based research organization, National Mental Health Innovation Center, to informally study the pilot program. Matt Vogl, president of the center, says he is optimistic that VR will be beneficial to inmates, citing existing research.

“We have to try new things and try them aggressively,” Vogl said. “I don’t think tech will solve all the problems, and there are a lot of unanswered questions, but if we can put one more tool in the tool box, we might as well…” (Full story.)

July 9, 2018
KTVA TV, Alaska

DOC tests virtual reality as inmate training tool

“Alaska has one of the highest recidivism rates in the country, with more than two-thirds of inmates who leave prison returning within three years. It’s an ongoing problem the Alaska Dept. of Corrections has long sought to solve.

Now, the DOC is partnering with the University of Colorado to try something new — training inmates in the skills they’ll need to succeed in life outside of prison using virtual reality.  (Full story / video.)

July 2, 2018
Scripps TV stations, Kumasi Aaron reports 

How Virtual Reality helps First Responders Prevent PTSD

June 28, 2018
CU Connections

Student mental health a critical, growing issue; Regents hear why treatment must reach beyond clinics into every aspect of university life

“…The health and safety of students at CU is a top priority, and with suicide rates on the rise nationally and in Colorado, the Board of Regents last week heard from Matt Vogl, executive director at the National Mental Health Innovation Center at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, about what can be done to better support the community.

In a way, Vogl said, we are a victim of our own success in the struggle for mental health awareness.

“We’re getting what we wished for because we’re starting to win the war on the stigma, but the downside of that is we’re unprepared for floodgates that are getting opened,” he said…”  (Full story.)

June 25, 2018
The Aspen Times

New Roaring Fork Valley program helps with postpartum depression

“…Valley Settlement Project, a program that empowers immigrant families in the valley, has partnered with researchers at CU Boulder to spearhead a new program that helps women experiencing postpartum depression.

Researchers, clinicians, and mothers who have experienced depression following childbirth will help others living through the symptoms now.
…”  (Full story.)

May 25, 2018
CU Anschutz Today
Fear fighter: Anxiety disorders take center stage in early VR testing
Experts predict gaming technology can help break mental health barriers

“…’Nick, what sensations are you feeling?’ asked psychologist Sam Hubley, PhD, who had been monitoring his patient’s virtual airport visit from an identical chair arms-length away.

“My chest feels warm, and my throat feels tight,” said Nick, his eyes covered by a boxy, maroon headset. Without hesitation, Hubley – who works with NMHIC – begins guiding his patient through relaxation exercises, helping him confront his fear of flying while averting a full-blown panic attack…”  (Full story.)

May 22, 2018
Anchorage Daily News
As prisoners imagine life on the outside, can technology help them stay out?

“…Virtual reality can be an effective tool for prison reform in the same way it has worked in other mental health applications, according to executive director Matt Vogl.

“We know for a fact, because it’s been studied, that it can help people with PTSD, and depression, anxiety and all kinds of social phobias,” Vogl said. “It has the ability to build empathy for other groups of people and populations better than any other tool we’ve had…”  (Full story.)

April 26, 2018
CU Anschutz Today
‘I couldn’t control my brain’: Firefighters learn virtual ‘reality’

“…Soon, VR prototypes immersing responders in scenes of mass-shootings, burning skyscrapers and natural disasters will be tested for building stress-management skills, bolstering resiliency and improving performance of emergency responders through an accessible and easily repeatable training method.

“It’s called stress inoculation,” said Matt Vogl, who founded NMHIC to bring community-wide creative solutions to mental health care. “It’s exposing people to the bad thing before they actually experience it for real so that their brain has a reference point and is not completely in shock,” he said…”
 (Full story.)

April 19, 2018
CU Today
CU Anschutz poised to lead VR’s health care integration

“…This new wave of technology is going to give us the tools to advance otherwise very difficult problems that we haven’t had a lot of success addressing,” said Walter Greenleaf, PhD, one of the most-noted experts in the field, who joined the CU Anschutz Medical Campus last April as director of technology strategy for the National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC). “But we have a lot of work to do…”   (Full story.)

April 5, 2018
FOX 31 News, Denver
CU Students Help Battle Drug Abuse and Mental Illnesses 

“…They are topics that can be difficult to discuss: Mental illness and drug abuse.  But the sometimes taboo topics were front and center during a discussion at the University of Colorado.

The problem is so big, students were being asked to help come up with ways to battle the opioid crisis in the workplace…”   (Full story.)

April 4, 2018
JEMS  (Journal of Emergency Medical Services)
Researchers Develop Virtual Reality Training to Help First Responders Manage Stress

“…Police, fire, dispatch and EMS, they have probably among the highest stress of any occupation out there,” said Matt Vogl, executive director at the National Mental Health Innovation Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus…”   (Full story.)

April 3, 2018
FOX 31 News, Denver
Colorado researchers develop virtual reality training to help first responders cope with mental illness

“…NMHIC is developing a virtual reality training program for first responders to prevent the stresses of the job.

‘Police, fire, dispatch and EMS, they have probably among the highest stress of any occupation out there,’ Vogl said. ‘They haven’t done a great job of mental health training and how do you prepare people for the psychological stress that they’re going to experience?’

A recent study from NMHIC and its subgroup ResponderStrong found there is a serious lack of mental health resources for first responders in Colorado…”                         (Full story.)

April 3, 2018
Colorado Public Radio (NPR), Colorado Matters program
Mental Health And The Line Of Fire: How To Respond To First Responders

“…The biggest killers of police officers and firefighters in Colorado is suicide. Between 2004 and 2014, three times as many police officers took their own lives than in all other line-of-duty deaths, according to the state Department of Health and Environment. Rhonda Kelly  tells Colorado Matters about a new survey from the National Mental Health Innovation Center that reveals a serious lack of access to mental healthcare and a lot of stigma around getting help for these first responders…”   (Listen here.)

March 27, 2018
FOX 31 News, Denver
Study: First responders need help dealing with depression, suicidal thoughts

“…First responders in Colorado say they need better access to mental health resources. The findings are part of a report from the National Mental Health Innovation Center at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, in partnership with Responder Strong.

We’re called to witness the biggest tragedies of other people’s lives…’”   (Full story.)

Jan. 14, 2018
The Denver Post
Go In or Walk Away?  Shooting that killed deputy underscores danger officers face when confronting mental illness

“… ‘A person experiencing a manic episode can be irritable or agitated for several days. Their behavior is hyper and excitable. They have feelings of grandiosity and no need for sleep, said Debra Boeldt, a psychologist at CU Anschutz’s National Mental Health Innovation Center. ‘Their mind is just going all over the place and being easily distracted.’…”  (Full story.)

January 2018
5280 magazine
Denver’s Digital Health Boom

“…“There’s really no end to what this technology can do,” says Matt Vogl, executive director of the National Mental Health Innovation Center, which opened in February 2016 on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, with the goal of pioneering solutions to systemic mental health problems...”   (Full story.)

Dec. 19, 2017
More Than the Baby Blues: Peers Help Moms with Postpartum Depression

“…Personal experience is the program’s backbone. Alma’s been vetted by focus groups and patient consultants… Such firsthand experience is critical, because being open about one’s sadness during a time that’s purported to be idyllic can be difficult, especially when 22.4 percent of Colorado mothers do not receive information about postpartum depression…”   (Full story.)

Oct. 11, 2017
For Building Warriors, Culture is Key to Mental Health of First Responders 

“…“In general, we are the helpers. We don’t ask for help. It’s seen as a sign of weakness,” explains Kelli Gilchrist, a Glendale-stationed firefighter… But help, and openly prioritizing mental well-being as much as physical health, is definitely needed: From 2004 to 2014, Colorado lost 130 emergency responders to suicide. …”   (Full story.)

Sept. 26, 2017
Matt Vogl’s Breakthrough: From Suicide to a New Center

“…Vogl looked down at the photo of his boys, then looked out at the 500 people in the audience, including colleagues, bosses and benefactors of his workplace as well as its umbrella organization, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. And he started talking about how close he’d come to suicide….”   (Full story.)

August 21, 2017
R&D Magazine
Virtual Reality for the Treatment of PTSD

“…Dawn Jewell, Ph.D., a psychologist based in Greeley, was approached about using the new therapy tool by a friend who was working with the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora and jumped at the opportunity…”   (Full story.)

August 2, 2017
WOSU – National Public Radio, Columbus, Ohio
Wellness Wednesday: Technology and Mental Health

 Matt Vogl, NBHIC executive director, is interviewed live on “All Sides with Ann Fisher” talking about the power of virtual reality, how it works and why it’s important in mental healthcare.  

July 30, 2017
The New York Times
A New Way for Therapists to Get Inside Heads: Virtual Reality

… “Dr. Dawn Jewell is among a handful of psychologists testing a new service from a Silicon Valley start-up called Limbix that offers exposure therapy…’It provides exposure in a way that patients feel safe,’ she said…” (Full story)

[Ed. note: Limbix is a partner with NBHIC in our Virtual Reality initiatives.]

July 20, 2017
CU Connections
Senior Executives from Film and Virtual Reality Join Behavioral Health Center; Greenleaf, Rekedal bring world-class creative and technology expertise to CU Anschutz

…The National Behavioral Health Innovation Center announced today that Rick Rekedal, a former senior executive with DreamWorks Animation, and Dr. Walter Greenleaf, a pioneer and leading authority on virtual reality for medical use, have joined its staff… (Full story)

Oct. 13, 2016
Tech enters fight against Colorado’s mental health problems

… “We’ve been viewing technology as a huge threat to our mental health,” Matt Vogl, executive director, National Behavioral Health Innovation Center, said, citing concerns about long work hours, screen addiction and isolation. But technology may be able to move more quickly than government to address some of the most pressing mental health needs right here in Colorado… (Full story)


September 23, 2016
Denver Business Journal
Don Elliman leads CU effort and draws national recognition; Elliman is the DBJ’s 2016 Power Book winner for health care

… Many of the under-the-radar moves that Chancellor Elliman is helping to direct are the ones that truly are keeping the campus on the cutting edge of American health care… Leaders have put an emphasis in the last year about expanding the national reputation of the campus for breakthroughs in physical health to the field of mental health as well. In December, executive director Matt Vogl launched the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center, which has an aim to break down silos in mental-health services and became an experimental laboratory for new ways to attack diseases. Since then he’s begun working with community groups, military organizations and Silicon Valley business types. A philanthropically backed veterans’ group now is considering launching a veteran-focused program on the campus that would enhance CU’s behavioral-health work further. “I’m thrilled with the progress they’re making,” Elliman said of the leaders of those efforts… (Full story. Subscription required.)

September 2, 2016
Denver Business Journal
Vogl Takes New Approach to Mental Health

…[Executive Director Matt] Vogl says he needs “to figure out a way to bring new ideas and new solutions to old, long standing problems in behavioral health.” To do this, the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center has gone after industries that can benefit from mental health reform. (Full story. Subscription required.)

March 25, 2016
Denver Business Journal
Breaking Down Silos

… Phil Anschutz — a major donor to a variety of programs on the university’s Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora —pledged $10 million toward the creation of a program to break down silos in mental-health services and become an experimental laboratory for new ways to attack diseases.

On Dec. 1, the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center launched with Matt Vogl as its executive director.

The center, which is still staffing up, will not be an academic institution spouting theories on how learned minds should treat behavioral disorders. Instead, it will be a place where potential breakthrough ideas find community partners willing to apply them in a real-world settings and expand the ideas that are successful to a national platform… (Full story.)