In pursuit of the five shared missions of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Chairman Laura Roberts has designated a number of projects as Special Initiatives of the Chair. These initiatives span a wide array of foci and scales, but are bound together by a shared capacity to grow the profile of the department while enhancing the public trust which makes all of our work possible. Projects are designated as Special Initiatives in one of several ways: they may reflect strong ideas which need a foothold within the department in order to identify stakeholders and appropriate collaborators, they may embody ongoing efforts which exceed any one lab or unit, or they may represent a commitment to highlighting research which holds transformative promise for innovation.
Our department is creating the path to a better future.
It started in Australia as headspace, brick and mortar sites where young people ages 12-25 get integrated care including early mental health supports, help with school, and web-based connectivity. Stanford Psychiatry's Center for Youth Mental Health & Wellbeing has brought that highly successful model to the US as allcove with the intention to replicate it throughout the country to fill the critical need for youth mental health and early intervention.
The Belonging Project at Stanford
A sense of belonging is deeply important to emotional health and personal wellbeing. It develops when one feels part of a larger community they believe in, that welcomes them, respects and represents their values, and helps them fulfill their aspirations. The Belonging Project’s aim is to advance study on the effects of belonging, be a resource for evidence-driven strategies, and support a culture of inclusiveness and positive belonging within Stanford life.
In September 2016 the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences was one of several co-hosts of the first ever BrainMind Summit, bringing together neuroscientists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and community stakeholders in a collaborative environment to foster innovation. As the BrainMind Ecosystem continues to grow, the department marks its foundational role in this exciting endeavor through the BrainMind initiative within the department, helping to ensure that these efforts serve to advance the departments five missions for years to come.
Brainstorm: The Stanford Lab for Mental Health Innovation
Brainstorm unites the worlds of medicine, business, technology, and design to help build innovative products that optimize health and human potential. Through these collaborations, Brainstorm works to facilitate the creation of products to address the biggest mental health care challenges of stigma, quality, and access. These new innovations are based on scientific evidence and scalable to millions at a time.
Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing
In response to the national public mental health crisis among US youth, the Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health and Wellbeing is spearheading a new national vision for adolescent and young adult wellness and mental health support. By working toward a health system with a full spectrum of support for youth, it's creating a national model for how to better support our young people as they transition to adulthood and realize their full potential.
Clinical Neuroscience Immersion Experience (CNI-X)
This summer program introduces high school students to the amazing breadth of research and discovery going on in our Department -- from how creativity is visualized with brain waves, how apps and virtual reality are treating eating disorders, to how psychiatrists support human rights cases at the World Court. An emphasis on self-reflection and self-directed learning enhances this unique experience.
Clinical Neuroscience Research Experience (CNR-X)
High school students from China can experience life as a Stanford undergrad in this immersive residential summer program designed to advance their knowledge of neuroscience, psychiatry, and psychology. Diverse lecture topics and discussions stimulate critical thinking about new areas of research, while small work groups are challenged to develop novel solutions to social issues related to their fields of study.
Working at the interface of psychiatry and the law, forensic psychiatrists provide expert testimony and evaluations critical to our legal system including mental state opinions and competency to stand trial. Our Program in Psychiatry and the Law offers a multidisciplinary team of world-class faculty with expertise in medicine, mental health, and ethics, whether presented in criminal or civil law, on an individual, corporate, or governmental level.
Global Mental Health Initiative
Through the Global Mental Health Initiative, we are prioritizing the mental health of vulnerable populations by developing and implementing evidence-based programs for wellness, and working for human rights through international psychiatry. Looking to the future, developing educational experiences for trainees in the field is another goal, positioning the department as a leader in mental illness prevention around the world.
Humanities and Medicine: Growing the Heart and Mind of Medicine
Medicine is the most human of the sciences with the physician-patient relationship at its heart. When this human side of medicine is marginalized, clinical outcomes and even health costs suffer. By facilitating an academic and clinical interface between medicine and humanities, this initiative allows the insights and wisdom of campus historians, anthropologists, philosophers and literary scholars find their way into Stanford Medicine.
Lyme Disease Working Group
The Lyme Disease Working Group is interested in developing more accurate diagnostic tests, improving medical understanding of the course of illness, evaluating the effectiveness of innovative therapies, expanding clinical services, and building greater knowledge and awareness of how to prevent illness. This initiative brings together colleagues from biochemistry, genetics, microbiology and rheumatology/immunology, infectious disease, wildlife disease, and more.
Media and Mental Health Initiative
We believe all forms of media (news, entertainment, social) have the power to make a transformational impact on health and mental health, when used accurately, safely and in ethical, developmentally appropriate ways. This initiative, part of the CYMHWB and funded by SPOt, aims to understand and improve the impact of media on mental health through partnerships, collaboration, and projects aimed to enhance the prosocial, safe use of media in multiple forms.
Mental Health Technology & Innovation Hub
The Stanford Mental Health Technology & Innovation Hub's mission is to develop, evaluate, and disseminate mental health technology and innovation to foster emotional wellbeing and ease the burden of mental illness worldwide. We are a collaborative group of clinicians, researchers, educators, trainees, faculty, and staff with an interest in the intersection of mental health, innovation, and technology.
Neurodiversity is a concept that regards individuals with differences in brain function and behavioral traits as part of normal variation in the human population. The movement of Neurodiversity is about uncovering the strengths of neurodiverse individuals and utilizing their talents to increase innovation and productivity of the society as a whole.
Precision Mental Health
Precision psychiatry is part of a biomedical revolution which will change the way medicine will diagnose and treat illness for the individual and for populations. By identifying specific brain circuitry in each individual, personalized corrective measures can be developed to more effectively treat mental illnesses.
Project Catalyst for Mental Health
The intent of Project Catalyst for Mental Health is to foster innovation to address and lessen the impact of mental disorders and related conditions. We are using scholarly work to improve health outcomes in six specific areas; Suicide, Co-occurring Disorders - Physical & Addiction, Grief & Survivorship, Computational Neuroscience, Related Social & Economic Determinants, and Health Disparities & Policies.
Reimagining Mental Healthcare
We are challenging ourselves to put aside what we already know about mental healthcare and start from scratch… to dream into the future of mental healthcare. Participants bring to bear theories, tools, and expertise from outside fields, particularly information technology, design thinking, and implementation science. Our work includes translating these new ideas into society with maximal impact, and as quickly as possible.
Virtual Reality & Immersive Technology Program
The VRIT Program is the first clinically focused academic endeavor dedicated to studying immersive technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in mental and behavioral health settings. Because our internal experience is powerfully shaped by physical sensations, this immersive technology can be precisely personalized for clinical treatments. We evaluate, innovate, and disseminate advances in this emerging field.
There are times when stressors get in the way of balancing the demands of professional and personal life, and without help problems can intensify affecting emotional and physical well-being and professional success. Although emotional distress often manifests in obvious ways, the symptoms of many psychological problems can be subtle. Stanford WellConnect is a confidential mental health referral and consultation for residents and fellows -- we are here to help.
YogaX is a special initiative of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences integrating science and spirituality to inspire health and wellbeing. Its mission is the integration of therapeutic yoga in health and allied healthcare settings. YogaX’s three areas of work - yoga teacher certification, continuing education with a therapeutic yoga focus, and therapeutic yoga services, are rooted in holistic spiritual traditions as well as modern neuroscience, biomedical, and psychological research.