NHS using virtual reality to help people affected by Grenfell tragedy
People affected by the Grenfell Tower fire are being offered virtual reality to help them open up about what happened a year on from the tragedy.
Staff from the Central and North West London NHS trust have taken to the streets with VR headsets to try and start conversations with those who are less likely to seek help.
Speaking to the Metro.co.uk, Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service manager, Ross O’Brien said offering people the chance to ride a virtual roller coaster is acting as an ice breaker to start conversations with residents who more often than not have a direct connection to the tower.
O’Brien believes this approach is the first time the NHS has used VR in this way, and said: ‘it has allowed teams to screen far more people than we would via the traditional methods’.
‘Now we’ve built up that relationship, where instead of being scary people in white coats, psychologists, psychotherapists, we’re also just the people who enable the VR, and our conversations with the survivors and the bereaved are on a very familiar level,’ he said.
‘It’s been a brilliant enabler to demystify and de-stigmatise the world of mental health.’
A 15-year-old boy is set to be diagnosed with internet gaming addiction after refusing to go to school for the past year, in what is thought to be in the first case of its kind on the NHS.
‘Every moment he’s awake, he wants to be on a game. There is no outside world. It has become all-consuming,’ she said.
‘He has great mates [online] and he is having fun running virtual worlds and non-existent kingdoms but it’s not real. It’s become so real that there’s nothing outside it anymore.’
Earlier this week it was reported that a 9-year-old girl has entered rehab for her addiction to video game Fortnite.
The girl’s family became concerned when they discovered she had wet herself rather than stop playing the game to go to the toilet, Happiful report.
‘I’ve been working in this field for three decades and never seen anything like it, how widespread and potentially damaging this is. I know bright kids who will fail their exams this summer because of Fortnite, kids who are stealing from their parents and friends to pay for extras, kids who urinate in bottles because they can’t bear to leave the game,’ Addictions counsellor Steve Pope told the magazine.
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