Immersive Technologies

Immersive Technology’s Mental Health Innovators

The healthcare sector in the UK has started to embrace immersive technologies lately.

According to the Immersive Economy Report 2022, the healthcare sector has experienced the highest growth rate in the number of businesses over the last five years.

UKRI and the government have taken up an initiative called the Mindset extended reality (XR) for digital mental health programme. Backed by a £20m investment, the program aims to address mental health challenges in the UK by promoting meaningful innovation in digital mental health through immersive therapy.

With this in mind, we’ve used The Data City platform to delve further into the UK’s immersive technology sector, putting the spotlight on the innovators using VR and XR to support mental health, social wellbeing and more.

The context

This focus on mental health couldn’t come at a better time.

Data shows a considerable portion of UK adults (21.5%) struggle with mental health challenges, such as anxiety. A survey by Kings College London finds that people believe, in general, that it is much more challenging for younger people today compared to when their parents were young.

With an increased portion of young people under mental health risk there is a need for increased technological and legislative changes to help address these issues.

Finding the companies

In order to spotlight the companies doing amazing work in the mental health space, we first need to find them.

Thankfully, that’s super easy using our platform. We already have an Immersive Technology Real-Time Industrial Classification (RTIC). RTICs are Data city’s proprietary industry classification built using machine learning. Immersive RTIC was built in collaboration with Innovate UK  and Oxford Insights and has 15 different verticals with a total of 2189 companies classified within it.

All I had to do was select the RTIC and overlay some keyword filters. I used keywords such as “mental health”, “anxiety”, and “virtual therapy” to find companies specialising in mental health.

Spotlighting Innovative Companies

Virtual Wellness

Geographical limitations and expensive therapy sessions have made people reluctant to take up mental health support. Various companies have developed solutions to address it, including:

  1. Virry VR provides immersive nature therapy through VR experiences set in the African savannah, offering accessible and effective mental health support.
  2. SafeSpace offers a mobile application designed to provide tailored sensory room experiences, specifically benefiting young people and children with autism and other neurological issues. This helps to reduce anxiety and stress levels associated with sensory challenges.
  3. Tend VR has developed a Virtual Reality product for Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). MBCT is the most clinically proven treatment for depression. Their digital adaptation of MBCT aims to democratize access to good quality mental health support.

Anxiety & Social wellbeing

Anxiety is a common problem among young people and teens, affecting many aspects of their lives. Several innovative approaches are being developed to research and address this issue. A few key companies in this space include:

  1. Another Space VR has developed a virtual reality experience that supports young people and teens in regulating their emotions. They utilise psychological frameworks to prevent and manage mental health challenges.
  2. Oxford VR a spinout of University of Oxford develops treatment protocols for Psychosis. They also help in addressing social anxiety using VR (virtual reality) based digital therapeutics.
  3. Rescape Health has developed VR tools to support patients with anxiety and pain management.

Female innovators

Within the mental health space, Female-led companies bring invaluable and diverse perspectives to the sector. It’s super easy to find female-founded and female-led companies using the new filter in our platform. Standout female-led companies include:

  1. Phase Space has developed VR tools to provide mental health support for students. They aim to reduce anxiety and stress among students, especially during exam periods.
  2. VR Healthy Limited work in research and have also been developing VR based apps and games to address mental health issue.
  3. AnomieXR provides a personalised mental wellness platform that empower their clients to create their own therapy space.

Mapping the emerging economy to drive change has always been the fundamental goal of The Data City as an organisation. We firmly believe that equipping policy makers and stakeholders with data driven tools will effectively bring about visibility and positive transformation.

If you want to see the data in action and explore these companies for yourself, why not sign up for a free trial?

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