Tom Insel - Former NIMH Director, and Co-Founder of Mindstrong

Tom Insel, former Director of the NIMH and co-founder of Mindstrong as well as the mental health "czar" for the state of California joined us during cohort #1 to talk about the state of the mental health market and what he's learned from 40 years of work in this space. Tom recently returned to speak to cohort #2 and is one of the most gracious and generous people in the mental health startup ecosystem in giving of his time to help founders. In the podcast, and our notes below, we share his thoughts from his cohort #1 speaker session and Q&A.


  1. Tom talks about his experience in the mental health space, about his book that will be released next year, and he reflects on how 2020 has changed the mental health landscape.
  2. We discuss the huge shift in the need for telehealth resources in 2020 due to the pandemic and how there will be a huge market for it even after the pandemic is finished.
  3. Tom shares what he calls the three P’s for mental health and addiction recovery: 1) People, 2) Place, and 3) Purpose, and how long-term solutions need to take these three things into consideration.
  4. Tom shares what he thinks is the recipe for a good startup company in this space and tips for how to build and grow in this space.
  5. We talk about how the current system is broken for patients and their families when insurers and companies are the ones footing the bill and at the same time, trying to reduce costs for het sake of profit.
  6. We discuss how we could tear down the whole system and build something new!
  7. Tom shares his idea for what hasn’t been done yet for the mental health space but that could be a true game changer he would like to see by 2030.
  8. Finally, Tom weighs in on the use of psychedelics in the treatment of mental disorders.