Metaverse ushers in the next generation of mental health care

Like many other industries, the healthcare industry has begun to implement Web3 technologies to better serve those in need. Health care services are now appearing in the metaverse specifically for people seeking mental health care.

Cointelegraph spoke to two executives from Innerword — a metaverse peer-to-peer mental health support program — about how the metaverse can transform the next generation of mental health professionals.

Connectivity is a feature inherently built into virtual environments, as is the ability to connect with greater anonymity through the use of avatars and usernames. Speaking in mental health, Noah Robinson, the platform’s CEO and founder, said, “this helps people open up more and be more vulnerable, which in turn leads to faster healing.”

Innerworld mental health support group. Source: Inner World

He went on to say that unlike traditional therapy sessions, which often have limited access, metaverse-based sessions give people access to “an entire community full of empathetic, caring people” who are available 24/7.

“Democratizing access seems to give people access to mental health care when they need it, however much they need it.”

According to Innerworld’s CEO, the platform underwent three years of clinical research, with more than 20,000 hours in beta before launch.

Innerworld mental health support group. Source: Inner World

Innerworld’s Chief Strategy Officer Jewel, also known for her career as a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, said her mental health journey began as a teenager and she wonders what it’s like today for kids like her.

Jewel told Cointelegraph that when she started looking into virtual reality, she quickly realized it could be used as a tool to provide peer-to-peer support, using methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior tools.

“The potential was great — we actually had a system that could be scaled up and could provide in-depth mental health interventions.”

It is already said that other Web3 tools, such as artificial intelligence, robots and blockchain, are the building blocks of the next generation of healthcare. Now the metaverse’s connectivity and peer-to-peer promises add another layer of support for those in need.

Related: The Ethics of the Metaverse: Privacy, Ownership, and Control

Jewel said this allows platforms like Innerworld to launch evidence scaling tools, typically only available in a clinician’s office, along with scaling experts and mental health activities.

“I think it’s going to be the biggest disruptor to mental health in a positive way.”

According to data collected by Innerworld on users’ involvement in the metaverse-based support groups, users have experienced a “significant reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

On the academic front, professionals have said that mental health support is an excellent industry for decentralization.