Deeply misunderstood, people who are given a diagnosis of an illness where psychosis plays a big part die up to two decades earlier than those unaffected by these conditions. These poor outcomes aren’t just part and parcel of the illness. They are exacerbated by the isolation that comes with prejudice in wider society. As a VR experience Goliath: Playing With Reality set out to challenge perceptions of people with lived experience of psychosis through compelling storytelling and meaningful immersive experience design.
In order to deepen this impact, the Goliath team are working to bring the project and additional resources to targeted community groups.
An educational tool kit based on Goliath will be used for public and youth engagement.
Although young people aged 18-24 are most at risk of developing psychosis most are unaware of the warning signs. Many compelling reports highlight that getting the right treatment for someone when they first exhibit the signs of disconnection with reality can be life changing and radically alter that person’s future. Goliath’s story of how he has used gaming to manage his isolation has already connected with thousands of young people around the world. Through the tool kit more young people can be empowered to becoming ambassadors of mental health and look after themselves and their peers in a challenging world.
Announcing Inside Mental Health (May 2023)
During the research phase of the project the Goliath Team ran a number of workshops in collaboration with the mental health charity Mind in Camden looking at project outcomes. The workshops involved people with lived experience exploring the potential of VR to express their stories. Participants were asked who they felt was the most important person to show the reality of their experiences to— everybody named their doctor. Adding this to the surge in demand for mental health services, and in wake of heightened pressure within the NHS leading to record staff burnout and walkouts, the Goliath team announced in May 2023 that it has secured funding to create Inside Mental Health, a two-year project in partnership with medical education specialists to develop Goliath into an innovative training series for healthcare workers.
Funded by Innovate UK and Ufi VocTech Trust, and guided by an Advisory Panel of experts, Inside Mental Health has already been used to support learning for nurses at the School of Health and Social Wellbeing at the University of the West of England. The team will further develop the experience for a broad range of health care professionals working alongside Lucy Watkins (Mental Health Nurse & Portfolio Lead for Simulation and Digital Technology in the School), and Dr. Chris Kowalski (Consultant Psychiatrist & Simulation Lead at Oxford Health NHS Foundation).
Inside Mental Health consists of a physical toolkit: sessions begin with a narrative VR experience (Goliath) where each participant’s biometric data is captured in real-time, and concludes with an interactive reflection session.Through funding from MyWorld the team will look at ways in which biometric data capture during immersive experiences can provide insights for the participant that can lead to improved learning outcomes. This stand alone application, ‘Feel Learn Do’ will be used alongside the Goliath VR experience as well as future projects from the studio.
“Data has long been used to collect information about the participant but often remains out of sight. We are interested in seeing how sharing the data with the user offers them the opportunity to gain insights into their own emotional journey which supports learning and behaviour changes that endure.”
May Abdalla, CEO, Anagram
“We are excited to be partnering with ANAGRAM to explore the potential of VR experiences to enhance empathy and perspective taking for mental health practice. This is particularly relevant given the current pressures on services and in the context of increasing levels of compassion fatigue.”
Dr. Chris Kowalski, Consultant Psychiatrist and Simulation Lead at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
“Bringing Inside Mental Health to our students gave them an important and memorable experience that allowed us to deliver high quality and impactful teaching […] Anagram really understands how to use VR meaningfully in learning. Working with them brought value, significance and impact to our teaching.”
Lucy Watkins, Senior Lecturer for Mental Health Nursing, University of West England
We are actively seeking specialists from health education with an interest in this area to contact us about collaboration on this tool. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.