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VR and mental health

Technology is transforming all aspects of our lives – and is showing huge promise in helping people deal with phobias and mental health problems.

The work of Oxford VR merits a mention here, at the start of Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK. In pioneering VR-enabled therapy, it is developing gamification solutions that offer a range of potential positives to users. When it comes to fear of heights, for example, the company’s therapy has shown to cut the phobia in patients by 70%.

“VR isn’t just capable of helping us with what seem like more straightforward phobias and anxiety-disorders. It can also help with depression, schizophrenia, paranoia,” explains Professor of Clinical Psychology at Oxford University.

The Professor lists the benefits of VR. These include being able to offer it at scale, as part of an experience that has a big fun element. He added: “We know what we do works. The potential for large-scale benefits is so exciting. The brilliant thing about virtual reality is that you can provide powerful simulations in the environment without the perceived dangers of a real-life setting and have people repeatedly go into them.”

Mental health problems are common, and talking about the different methods to alleviate them, like using VR, should also be common. So if you are reading this, help mainstream the conversation about it, by chatting with your friends and family about the different ways people and tech can be used to help those suffering make positive progress. #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.

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