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New way forward on mental health

A virtual reality (VR) spinout from Oxford University has raised £3.2M to accelerate platforms that offer a range of clinically approved cognitive therapies.

Oxford VR‘s launch product, an ‘automated VR treatment’ for those with height phobia, can already be found in various NHS settings, after the successful results of a trial were published in the Lancet Psychiatry. The new investment from the likes of Oxford Sciences Innovation, University of Oxford, Force Over Mass, RT Capital and GT Healthcare Capital Partners will see the early stage company develop technologies, validated by results from clinical trials, for ‘patients with mental health problems’.

“Our focus is on developing clinically validated, cost-effective, user-centred treatments for clinical conditions with significant impact on patients, the health system and wider economy. That means targeting complex conditions such as psychosis and social anxiety,” said Barnaby Perks, CEO of Oxford VR. “I am delighted to lead a company that will transform mental health for millions by combining state-of-the-art immersive technology with world-class science from the University of Oxford.”

Frontier technologies are paradigm shifters when it comes to how the world views and tackles mental health issues. We reported last year the growing body of evidence suggesting apps, for example, were providing meaningful support to people living with mental health problems; and advances by Oxford VR, and others, will only speed up the transition to a new age of effective therapies in this area.

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