News Report Technology
January 02, 2023

VR can help young people deal with mental health issues

In Brief

Australian mental health research company Orygen is testing how VR technology can help young people overcome mental health challenges.

Virtual reality exposure therapy allows patients to face traumatic events in a simulated environment with a psychologist’s guidance.

FDA gives VR mental health treatment Breakthrough Device designation

The Australian mental health research company Orygen is testing a number of virtual reality (VR) interventions for young people who face mental health challenges. The Sydney Morning Herald shared how simulation through VR can help overcome some psychological disorders.

The researchers are working on combining VR with exposure therapy, which involves transporting a person to the source of their anxiety. For instance, if a patient has a social phobia about going to a cafe and ordering a drink, exposure therapy could help them overcome their fear and break the pattern of avoidance.

In a simulated virtual world, VR exposure therapy has encouraged people to face traumatic events or places, such as being in a social situation, flying, or standing at the top of a high-rise building. Patients are not left alone on this VR journey to better their mental health; a psychologist guides VR exposure therapy sessions.

“We are building this for people who are socially avoidant. One of the things young people mentioned in workshops was that they would like to be able to hang out with friends, to order a coffee, use a public restroom in a crowded area, things like that. So, we can work on any of those scenarios in a live role-play,”

said psychologist Dr. Roos Pot-Kolder.

The metaverse was co-designed by young people experienced in dealing with mental health-related issues.

The article claims that VR exposure therapy can successfully treat people with anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorders. VR therapy was tested on 20 Iraq War veterans, of whom 16 defeated post-traumatic stress disorder and no longer met the diagnostic criteria.

The director of Orygen Digital’s virtual reality research team, Professor Andrew Thompson, said there’s still little research focusing on the younger generations. He told SMH there is a vast potential for VR to “bridge the gap between the real world and the clinician’s room.”

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About The Author

Agne is a journalist who covers the latest trends and developments in the metaverse, AI, and Web3 industries for the Metaverse Post. Her passion for storytelling has led her to conduct numerous interviews with experts in these fields, always seeking to uncover exciting and engaging stories. Agne holds a Bachelor’s degree in literature and has an extensive background in writing about a wide range of topics including travel, art, and culture. She has also volunteered as an editor for the animal rights organization, where she helped raise awareness about animal welfare issues. Contact her on [email protected].

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Agne Cimerman
Agne Cimerman

Agne is a journalist who covers the latest trends and developments in the metaverse, AI, and Web3 industries for the Metaverse Post. Her passion for storytelling has led her to conduct numerous interviews with experts in these fields, always seeking to uncover exciting and engaging stories. Agne holds a Bachelor’s degree in literature and has an extensive background in writing about a wide range of topics including travel, art, and culture. She has also volunteered as an editor for the animal rights organization, where she helped raise awareness about animal welfare issues. Contact her on [email protected].

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