Many people experience phobias or other mental health conditions that make their inclusion in ‘real life’ difficult. Exposure to these ‘real life’ situations is key to therapy – this currently happens slowly because it involves real situations. This project proposes virtual reality for a first step to prepare people to cope with fears/ anxieties/ phobias. This is controllable, can happen anyway, can use real film and is very cost effective.
Before making the bid, Tom, the applicant did a small case study pilot on Sue. Sue is 54 and suffers from complex anxiety, suicidal thoughts and agoraphobia. She has barely left her house for 7 years. She has severe physical health problems and is obese. The ultimate goal was to get Sue out more, but the first step was proving very difficult. In this pilot, VR was used in her home (with real video of the doorstep and street outside her house. Early input of VR has seen that it becomes easier with time, and helps Sue cope with her anxiety. Tom says it means he has been able to speed up recovery and therapy by a considerable margin, as it starts in the safety of the home.
Sue: “It’s frightening, but once my anxiety is under control I’m more focused on what I can see with new eyes. I can appreciate the little things and I want to be in that place. It could do a lot of good”
The VR equipment has been sourced, and the Pt Systems team are working with the applicant to roll this project out.