VR platform to help children overcome social anxiety to be created

Sheffield Hallam University has received £ 35,000 to develop a home-based immersive virtual reality (VR) scenario platform to help alleviate SAD symptoms among children.

A one-of-a-kind study will be conducted to help develop virtual reality scenarios that will hopefully help children overcome social anxiety disorders.

The bespoke virtual interactions will be tailored for pediatric patients with social anxiety in collaboration with Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust staff and patients.

The scenarios will include everyday environments such as homes, neighborhoods and shops. These environments will be designed with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in mind to provide stimulating features to help encourage coping mechanisms.

Social anxiety disorder is an overwhelming and long-lasting fear of social situations and affects approximately 10% of children and young people.

Children with SAD can suffer from distress, fear, avoidance of social activities, poor school attendance and problems with concentration, sleep, diet. They may also have uncontrollable outbursts, negative thoughts, and physical symptoms that lead to depression.

Under traditional SAD treatment, a patient receives 12 to 15 one-hour weekly sessions, which include gradual exposure and prevention. Using virtual reality at home will allow the interactive aspects of therapy to be accessed daily rather than weekly and reduce the number of face-to-face sessions to four.

Hopefully, this will allow the NHS to increase capacity for the number of children treated for SAD.

Ivan Phelan, principal investigator at Sheffield Hallam University and director of Impact VR, said: “Therapists have seen the value of virtual reality for treating social anxiety disorder, but have found that they are only for adults.

“There is currently no system available that uses immersive virtual reality to deliver CBT to pediatric SAD patients at home. We are eager to address this unmet need and have started working with children and psychiatrists to develop an innovative system for children suffering from social anxiety disorders ”.

Read more: The technical advice addresses the employability of the West Midlands

VR platform to help children overcome social anxiety to be created

Source link VR platform to help children overcome social anxiety to be created

Back to top button