Using virtual reality technology to target mental health

| March 11, 2021

It is likely we are in for yet another tumultuous year of change ahead of us due to COVID 19 and business owners have a duty of care to foster a work environment that prioritises employees’ mental health and wellbeing as businesses are calling their employees back into the office.

AtOne Australia uses virtual reality technology and staff training to target mental health and improve performance of staff. AtOne is a multi-sensory approach to meditation that combines visual, auditory and olfactory into the meditation experience. Training the mind for mental health is now being recognised to be as important as training the body for physical health and meditation is a tool to support this mindset training.

Research shows many benefits of meditation including reduction in Cortisol levels (released in fight or flight response), reduced heart rate, blood pressure and improved mental focus as well as many longer-term benefits that assist with rational thinking, problem solving, mental focus and self-awareness. Recent research from Brown University in Providence, USA, shows that structured mindfulness-based meditation programs, where a trained instructor leads regular sessions, are effective in improving psychological well-being.

Recent research of more than 1900 Australians by global HR firm ADP found 64 per cent of respondents are stressed at least once a week at work, and almost one-third (28 per cent) also said they would not be comfortable talking to anyone at work about their mental health. This suggests that there is still a stigma around mental health, and this can be a problem with staff still not wanting to speak up around mental health issues.

The AtOne virtual reality experience is the latest technology and so it adds an element of fun to targeting mental health in the workplace. Using the latest technology is a great reason for staff to try the experience without any mental health stigma attached to it.

A lack of awareness in workplaces around mental health means that people may not recognise they are stressed until the stress is chronic. AtOne is a tool for staff to develop more awareness about their emotional state and skills for training their mind towards positive and productive thoughts.

Finding a time when all staff can attend a meditation session can be challenging so this AtOne technology, using an Oculus Quest headset means staff can pick up the headset anytime and anywhere. Meditations range from 2 minutes long to 25 minutes to enable staff to take more short breaks and mindfulness moments throughout their day. The AtOne technology is normalising practices to address stress and mental health in the workplace and adding an element of fun to a serious issue.

Regardless of a person’s skills around meditation, the experience is giving the brain input from several senses that the user is in a safe, relaxed environment. Staff are shifted quickly from a stressful work environment to a beautiful beach, mountain or virtual world with relaxing music, beautiful smelling scents and a voice telling them to relax and check-in with themselves.

How does your business support employees’ mental health?

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