Virtual reality (VR) technology has been used in a variety of settings, including gaming, entertainment, and education. However, VR is also gaining traction as a tool for improving mental health. In this blog, we'll take a look at how VR is being used to help individuals with mental health conditions, and the potential benefits and drawbacks of this technology.
Cognitive behavioural therapy
One of the main ways that VR is being used for mental health is through exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that involves gradually exposing individuals to the things they fear or avoid in a controlled and safe environment. With VR, individuals can be exposed to these stimuli in a virtual environment, allowing them to confront their fears and learn to cope with them in a safe and controlled setting. While we're on the subject of CBTI, we cover this in greater detail in our sleep blogs here.
How virtual reality helps
VR is also being used to help individuals with mental health conditions develop social skills and improve their relationships with others. Many mental health conditions, such as autism and social anxiety disorder, can make it difficult for individuals to interact with others. VR can provide a safe and controlled environment where individuals can practice social skills and build their confidence.
There are also potential drawbacks to using VR for mental health. One concern is that VR may not be as effective as face-to-face therapy in some cases. Another concern is that VR may not be accessible to everyone, as it requires a VR headset. Additionally, some individuals may experience discomfort or side effects from using VR, such as nausea or dizziness, but is quite rare, and just like other types of motion sickness, it's a good idea not to take over the counter stimulants or strong coffee before you dive in. If you're one of the unlucky ones it does happen to, just rest up, you'll get used to it I promise!
Available VR apps
Let's wrap this up
In conclusion, VR has the potential to be a useful tool for improving mental health, this is especially exciting for workplace mental health. But it maybe a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatment.