Research Topic

Virtual Reality and Mental Health: Opportunities to Advance Research and Practice

About this Research Topic

Mental health conditions pose a major challenge to healthcare providers and society at large. The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030, mental health conditions will be the leading burden of disease globally. Mental health services across all countries are struggling to meet the needs of ...

Mental health conditions pose a major challenge to healthcare providers and society at large. The World Health Organization predicts that by the year 2030, mental health conditions will be the leading burden of disease globally. Mental health services across all countries are struggling to meet the needs of users and arguably fail to reach the majority of those in need. Preventative and early intervention, support and education can have significant positive impact on a person’s prognosis.

Over the last few years there has been a growing interest in technologies for educating and supporting mental health, both from a maintenance strategy and intervention tool. Advances in technology have created opportunities for collaboration between Technology and Health researchers, and practitioners to design and develop tools to train and support healthcare providers, connect users with healthcare providers, support access to affordable self-assessment and to deliver scalable treatment or preventative strategies.

The use of technology can allow a greater degree of anonymity than what has been possible in existing health systems, which mostly focus on dealing with diagnosable cases. Technology is often considered an advantage for offering new opportunities in reaching individuals who might not otherwise seek help due to fear of being stigmatised. The use of Augmented (AR), Virtual (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) in mental health continues to attract growing attention. AR, VR and MR technologies can be used to create new effective care models in the wider context of creating positive lifestyle changes, and prevention of, education about and support for individuals affected by a wide range of mental health conditions.

We successfully organized a workshop at the IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR) 2019 conference on AR/VR/MR and Mental Health and hosted a research topic on Designing Technologies for Youth Mental Health for Frontiers in Public Health in
2018. This research topic will be a continuation of these previous efforts. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for AR/VR/MR researchers and health researchers to submit their original contributions on the design, implementation and evaluation of new mental health technologies aiding key areas including persuasion, education, self-assessment, collaboration and intervention.

For this research topic, we welcome submissions of original research and reviews on the following:
- Theoretically, empirically, and/or methodologically oriented contributions focused broadly on supporting mental health using AR/VR/MR, providing education, self-assessment, and/or
services
- Design and evaluation of VR/AR/MR tools for the prevention and/or treatment of mental health conditions
- Design and evaluation of collaborative VR/AR/MR tools for the support, prevention, and/or treatment of mental health conditions
- Design and evaluation of other technologies (social media, games, mobile apps, internet of things) in addition to AR/VR/MR for the support, prevention and/or treatment of mental health conditions
- Effects of using virtual self-representation of the real self on preventing mental disorders
- Potential impact (socio-cultural, economic and environmental) of VR/AR/MR for mental health support
- Challenges and risks in applying VR/AR/MR for mental health support
- Opportunities for advancing research and practice in this field
- Case studies reporting on patient or clinical use of AR/VR/MR in mental health
- Other topics related to AR/VR/MR use in mental health

We are also very interested in research describing the use of technology for supporting delivery of high-quality mental health services in underserved population groups with limited access to conventional mental health care.

We would like to take a moment to give photo credit to Emma Simpson https://unsplash.com/@esdesignisms


Keywords: Mental Health, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, Social Media, Gaming, Self Assessment, Intervention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

25 January 2021 Manuscript
25 February 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

25 January 2021 Manuscript
25 February 2021 Manuscript Extension

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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