Digital intervention

Virtual Reality approach

Overview

A major innovation in non-pharmacological treatments is the VR based intervention, improving mental health, and making citizens more environmentally aware.  Given the high prevalence of mental illnesses, it can be expected that many patients and citizens will benefit from VR interventions helping them to become active recipients of environmental change and to act in that domain.

Approach

Our VR solution aims to empower participants to actively tackle challenges related to urbanicity, climate change and coping with consequences of the pandemic crises.  We will create a virtual environment, with which we can identify the development of adverse effects and support the development of stress resilience.

A desirable environment will be simulated, which degrades over time through the introduction of adverse factors. The environment might become more crowded (using virtual characters), loud, with decaying structures, or hazier, and through the connection of a physical heating system associated with the environment becoming hotter. Participants can identify the source of a pollutant (smoke arising from a building) and by working together shut off the cause of the smoke, thus learning that action is positive for mental health compared to submission.

In addition, we will test the concept of a future self who has overcome personal adversity such as poor mental health as a consequence of environmental change. Participants will be able to converse with this future self, adopting both sides of the conversation through successive embodiments as self and as future self. This application will form the basis for the development of a therapeutic technique with an automated therapist. Conversations between the self and future self, or indeed another counsellor will be recorded, and outcomes assessed.

 

 

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Digital intervention - Virtual Reality approach

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