One of the more interesting applications of technology I’ve come across recently addresses a challenge that more and more students are facing. Pixvana and Limbix have created an interactive VR therapy for adolescent depression and anxiety. Curious about this idea in general, I did a quick search on Google Scholar and discovered that there is a growing body of research about the use of VR in mental health interventions.
The idea behind this recent work is that by showing situations that could lead to depression in adolescents, the VR experience helps kids understand how their brain functions and how thoughts and feelings like these can develop. Bringing the growth mindset into the discussion can then help them understand that they have power over these thoughts and can change how they think, feel, and react to these challenging experiences.
This video discusses some of the hows and whys of the group’s work.
VR Intervention for Depression from Pixvana on Vimeo.
This is a really interesting use of the technology and an interesting approach to these issues. We’re seeing a real spike in anxiety and depression, especially among teen girls (and social media seems to be a primary driver of this). Let’s hope that innovative approaches like this can play a role in making it easier for teens to deal with these issues.