“The world is increasingly lonely, stressed, and in pain, a phenomenon that some experts suggest constitutes a modern-day “mental health epidemic.” This is a statement as true today as it was last year.”
Again, this statement is as true today as it was a year ago when BehaVR Founder and CEO, Aaron Gani, mentioned it in an interview with Endeavor Global at the start of the pandemic. Many people in today’s world are plagued by varying mental health struggles. And as innovation in physical healthcare often takes center stage, mental and emotional healthcare deserve the same attention.
Endeavor Company BehaVR is doing just that by combining science and technology to create digital therapeutic solutions that support a variety of scenarios where stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders are common. As we close out Mental Health Awareness Month, we are highlighting all this healthtech company has done in the last year to deliver mental health resources to those in need.
The Science Behind BehaVR: How It Works
The use of Virtual Reality in healthcare may not be a brand new idea, but the ways in which it is being applied to better a person’s well being continue to expand. BehaVR recognizes that “the neurological and psychological power of VR is unmatched,” and through its foundational program, Balance, the company is creating progressive, multi-session medical VR experiences to teach users stress resilience and emotion regulation.
Mindfulness is at the center of BehaVR’s mission. There is an abundance of scientific literature available today that supports the notion that mindfulness can regulate a range of behavioral and neurobiological elements implicated in adaptive stress coping. By using VR, you can amplify the effect of these mindfulness techniques.
BehaVR’s Dynamic eXperience Engine enables VR sessions to be personalized and dynamically controlled from the cloud, with all patient experience logs and responses captured and analyzed.
The one-of-a-kind architecture enables full clinician visibility into patient progress, integration with other clinical systems and EMRs, and connection in telehealth scenarios where patients and clinicians are separated by distance.
With BehaVR’s unique model and versatile Thrive program, a variety of hospitals and organizations have partnered with the 2020 Health Innovation Award winning company to create supportive experiences for the communities or groups they work with.
Taking Action: BehaVR’s Solutions for the Mental Healthcare Community
Easing Emotional Toll of COVID-19 for Healthcare Workers and Other Workforce Stress With CenteredVR
BehaVR partnered with Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions to create and release CenteredVR, a specific virtual reality program aimed at reducing chronic stress in the workplace, in December 2020.
In addition to everyday stress, the pandemic brought on a slew of other mental and emotional stressors, especially for those working on the frontlines. BehaVR expanded the CenteredVR program to help clinicians and healthcare workers decompress and find balance.
“We have seen the power of virtual reality-enabled programming to support the mental health and wellbeing of our patients so it was a natural fit for us to offer a tool like CenteredVR to our nurses,” said Robert G. Louis, M.D., the Hoag Empower360 Endowed Chair for Skull Base and Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute.
Expanding Behavioral Health in Virtual Reality with Limbix
In September 2020, BehaVR partnered with Limbix, a developer of digital therapeutics focused on adolescent mental health treatment, to extend the reach and impact of companies’ VR programs and open new opportunities for international distribution. By integrating Limbix’s VR programs and technology into the BehaVR platform, the programs offer more advanced forms of content to clinicians and patients.
Supporting New and Expectant Mothers With First-of-its-Kind Virtual Reality Program, NurtureVR
BehaVR partnered with Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian to launch NurtureVR in August 2020. The program geared towards expectant mothers uses virtual reality to augment prenatal education, pain management related to pregnancy, mindfulness, and support women through postpartum care.
“NurtureVR combines our decades of caring for women and years of VR experience with the perspective and technology of BehaVR, which has allowed us to create a program that is unlike anything else we’re seeing in therapeutic VR or in women’s health,” said Robert G. Louis, M.D.
Addressing Critical Needs for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) Management
In August 2020, BehaVR announced a collaboration with Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd., bringing together experts in psychiatry, neuroscience, behavioral health, and virtual reality to address unmet needs in those who struggle with social anxiety. As part of the joint development and collaboration agreement, the pair is developing a general wellness product that uses VR to assist in the management of SAD.
“Many with SAD do not receive any support in managing their condition because there is a shortage of behavioral health professionals where they live, they cannot afford it, or their previous attempts at treatment haven’t worked, said Endeavor Entrepreneur and BehaVR CEO Aaron Gani. “Virtual reality has the potential to make good care and management for social anxiety disorder more accessible to people around the world.”
Creating a Better Health Experience Through Virtual Reality
The good work BehaVR is doing to address the gaps in available mental health resources doesn’t stop here. With a mission to “educate, motivate, and activate people to achieve their best health” driving their day-to-day, we can only expect to see the healthtech company expand their offerings and continue to be a leading voice in the conversation around accessible healthcare.