Mental health is the second largest group of health disorders associated with prolonged disability. Treating conditions such as stress and anxiety are a global health challenge due to inadequate funding and resources. Therefore, providing virtual treatment in the metaverse may provide a novel method of treatment for these conditions. We conducted a retrospective analysis of health records of people experiencing stress and anxiety who were treated principally in the metaverse using virtual reality. The main objective was to determine if virtual mental health treatment was achievable and safe, with measurable outcomes repeated at multiple time points. Here, 61 participants health records were evaluated (50% were female, 19% male, 31% identified as other). The cohort was 45.7 ± 15.7 years of age and reported no adverse effects with outcomes measured. Specifically, anxiety (via Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale) decreased by 34% (p = 0.002) and stress (via Perceived Stress Scale) decreased by 32% (p < 0.001) after virtual intervention. The data suggests that this method of treatment was feasible, safe, and outcomes were obtainable over a range of time points. This early data suggest that management in the metaverse for these conditions may be beneficial, however, further prospective studies are necessary to better understand these clinical findings.
- Virtual reality