The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Tech ‘tools’ to aid mental health


eadspace Horsham will lead a stateof-the-art virtual reality program with nine other services across Victoria and NSW as part of a 12-month pilot aimed at improving the mental health of young people.

The psycho-education program, designed by Spanish-based software developer Psious, launched ahead of Mental Health Week, which started on Sunday.

Headspace Horsham clinical lead Sandi Mclaughlin said the program was designed to help improve mental-health outcomes for young people.

“There’s an increasing number of young people needing mental-health support and this program will allow for more early interventi­on on issues such as depression and anxiety,” she said.

“Virtual reality has proven to be a powerful therapeuti­c tool and this technology allows young people to recreate real-life experience­s in controlled environmen­ts where they feel safe, such as at headspace or at home.

“It equips young people with the tools they need to deal with challengin­g situations, confront their fears and learn coping strategies to feel better about themselves and the world around them.”

Psious chief executive Xavier Palomer said the program was the first virtual-reality platform specifical­ly designed to support mental health.

“I think of the mind as an incredible machine. We all want to better understand our complex feelings and emotions and we’ve created tools which help do this for young people,” he said.

Member for Lowan and Shadow Minister for Mental Health Emma Kealy welcomed the program.

“We know that many of our young people have struggled with mental health during lockdowns and are in need of more support,” she said.

“It’s fantastic that headspace Horsham is developing innovative ideas for how we can best support our young people, particular­ly those living in regional and rural Victoria where there are substantia­l gaps in access to mental-health services and support.”

Headspace Horsham provides free counsellin­g and support to people aged 12 to 25 years on issues such as relationsh­ips, drug and alcohol, mental health, bullying, anxiety, depression, bothering thoughts and uncertaint­y.

People seeking more informatio­n can call headspace Horsham on 5381 1543 or visit the office at 77 Hamilton Street, Horsham.

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