While there is much excitement around the Metaverse and NFTs, what does this mean for the future of mental health?
Virtual reality is not just for gaming anymore. In fact, a meta analysis has shown that Virtual Reality mental health interventions can produce similar therapeutic effects as in-person therapy, and it also allows for the timely provision of treatment.
Mind-Easy is a digital mental health start-up that aims to provide clinically validated and culturally competent mental health resources. The company has recently received a full grant from Decentraland to build the first mental health clinic in the virtual space in partnership with Metaverse Architects. Their work has garnered immense accolades from across the globe, and those working in this sector have quickly realized the importance of what the founders are trying to do.
Entering the Metaverse will surely impact our reality, the perception of ourselves, with possible negative and positive effects on mental health. “According to Amara’s law, we tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate its effect in the long run. Based on this premise, we might overestimate the ability of the Metaverse to predict future outcomes while it is in its early adopting stage.” said Alexandra Asssouad, CEO & Co-founder of Mind-Easy. “With the growing global mental health crisis looming over the horizon, Mind-Easy’s research aims to explore the role the Metaverse will play in the epidemiology of wellbeing.” she added.
There are many factors that will play into the successful prevention and treatment of mental illness in the Metaverse. The level of immersion, social interactions, economic factors, and exposure to trauma are a few examples. “We know that there needs to be more research in this area to help guide policies and practices related to wellbeing in the Metaverse. We also know that the Metaverse will have a significant impact on how we interact with each other and our surroundings. We need to be proactive in understanding the risks and opportunities it presents for mental health. The work that Mind-Easy is doing is groundbreaking and will help set the tone for how we approach mental health in the digital age.” said Assouad.
Mind-Easy’s vision is to create an inclusive mental health clinic in the Metaverse that will give DCL users access to the tools, videos, and resources to take charge of their mental health. This material will cover a range of mental health issues, and will be accessible to anyone in Decentraland. This will be built on land owned by the Metaverse Group, and includes the creation of an immersive, 3D experience, aimed at providing free, accessible information on different mental health provisions. The Metaverse Architects are developing innovative expansions of virtual reality experiences to support mental health utility in the metaverse, including exciting avatars, colors, textures and sounds that support not only emotion regulation but also promote psychological transformation.
Moreover, this project will aim to empower users to take charge of their mental health, and will prioritize the formation and development of a community which aims to support and nurture the mental health of fellow DCL community members. For extra inclusivity, the initial project will be designed and built to communicate mental health resources in three key international languages ofEnglish, Spanish and Portuguese.
The clinic will also include therapy spaces, sensory immersion experiences, and consciousness exploration spaces, along with peer support hubs and collaborative exercise spaces to foster a positive environment for mental health and wellbeing.
“Our primary goal is to leverage the possibilities and potential of the Metaverse to bridge the gaps in the existing mental health spaces. The clinic will be the first step in the creation of an ecosystem for decentralized and equal distribution access to culturally validated mental health resources for all users,” said Alexandra Assouad, CEO & Co-Founder of Mind-Easy.
“Here, users will be able to engage in expanded experiences such as peer support, gamified content and educational resources that will contribute to the adoption and expectancy of cultural competency as the minimum standard of mental health care.” she added.
“Our strategic collaborations with Metaverse Architects, as well as the enormous network of researchers, psychologists, and therapists specialized in the unique needs of users, allows us to create content and design spaces with the needs of every user at the forefront of our development process,” Alexandra said.
Mind-Easy will be launching this clinic on October 10th of 2022. The clinic will be accessed through the Decentraland platform, with details of the events being announced shortly.