VR and Mental Health

When people think of VR, they often imagine the applications it has in the realm of gaming. VR provides an exciting escape from reality and allows us to go on adventures we never thought possible. You can walk across the bottom of the ocean, fly through space, or explore dungeons teeming with treasure. With VR, a fun experience is often guaranteed. However, what if we created experiences that weren’t what we would consider ‘fun’? In the realm of mental health treatment, VR designers are helping people to face their fears.

We are told that in order to conquer are fears, we must first face them. With VR’s ability to place anyone in any situation, a user can confront their fears in a safe environment. For example, say someone was suffering from PTSD. It is immensely dangerous and counter intuitive to put that person back in a war zone for the sake of treatment. However, with VR you can place that person in a war zone so that they may confront it periodically in a safe environment. In addition to this, if the experience became too intense for the user the simulation could be quickly stopped. A VR experience could also be used to address other conditions like phobias, depression, and anxiety. The opportunities truly are endless, and I’m excited to see how VR technology will be fine-tuned to address these conditions in the years to come.

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