OSU Medicine Shows How Virtual Reality Can Help Improve Mental Health Treatment

Thursday, February 6th 2020, 1:52 pm
By: Erick Payne

Local health professionals spent the day immersed in virtual reality.

The National Center for Wellness and Recovery at OSU Medicine is showing how virtual reality can improve training and treatments. This is a tool that wasn't really available like this until a few years ago.

The groups giving the presentation today say it could have a big impact on Oklahoma's opioid problem. This is what the future treatment of some mental health issues and addiction might look like. It may look goofy on the outside, but experts say the simulations are designed to better prepare health professionals.

"This is really new cutting-edge innovative stuff," National Mental Health Innovation Center Executive Director Matt Vogl said.

Vogl says virtual reality treatments for patients, and training for professionals could have a tremendous impact.

"Helping people to learn how to deal with a difficult patient or even basic things like teaching people how to administer naloxone," Vogl said.

One of those who stand to benefit is Bryan Day. He's the CEO of 12 and 12 Incorporated, a rehab center in town.

"This is a great tool. A very realistic opportunity to put people in very specific trainings," Day said.

Day has never used virtual reality until now. He's trying out the 'fear of heights' experience and says he felt completely immersed.

"Certainly recognized I was standing on a ledge, and that was a very real virtual experience that I was having," Day said.

He says he could definitely see them integrating a tool like this in their training and treatments. Day and Vogl both say it would essentially be learning virtually, instead of by textbook.

"I think Oklahoma's positioning themself as a statewide leader for the rest of the nation in rolling VR out at the kind of scale I think is possible here," Vogl said.

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