NSW Veterans use virtual reality app for mental health

    NSW veterans will be the first to use AtOne, an Australian-first virtual reality app targeting stress and building mental fitness, on HTC VIVE headsets at RSL LifeCare Veteran Services’ Emotional Wellbeing Open Days throughout May.

    Veterans and their families from the Northern Beaches region will trial AtOne for the first time this week at the RSL LifeCare Northern Beaches Veteran Wellbeing Centre, Wellbeing Open Day. 

    This is thanks to funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Wellbeing Grants Program. The program provides emotional regulation techniques, courses and immediate skills for NSW veterans and their families, and is being rolled out at RSL LifeCare Veteran Services Homes for Heroes in Narrabeen, and at Nowra and Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centres following RSL LifeCare purchasing four HTC VIVE headsets as part of the grant application. 

    AtOne is Australia’s first personalised immersive virtual reality (VR) guided meditation app with a multi-sensory approach to meditation where the user can customise each experience.

    Using HTC VIVE’s virtual reality headsets, AtOne users can meditate amongst real and virtual scenes, including forests and beach settings, and other bodies including the Australian Institute of Sport’s European Training Centre use it.

    AtOne can help:

    ●       Prevent burnout with regular, short AtOne breaks

    ●       Improve emotional regulation with guided sessions

    ●       Provide online training tips to build mind fitness

    “RSL LifeCare Veteran Services is spearheading a Department of Veteran Affairs Wellbeing grant-funded project to enhance emotional regulation in NSW’s veteran community.

    Thanks to this funding, we have been able to engage organisations like AtOne, Frontline Mental Health Services, and Western Sydney University to help us support veteran wellbeing across the state by empowering them to take charge of their emotional regulation.

    Through our dedicated program, we are equipping veterans with the tools they need to better manage their mental wellbeing through meditation, mindfulness, and other emotional regulation techniques, and after seeing AtOne at play in Victoria, we knew this would be a great fit to expand our program through the use of technology.”

    Cath Allen, Head of Veteran Wellbeing at RSL LifeCare Veteran Services,

    “Veterans may be at a higher risk for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    Data shows mindfulness and meditation has a significant effect on alleviating PTSD symptoms compared with both active and non-active control conditions.

    Research shows that virtual reality (VR) can reduce the symptoms of PTSD, particularly in war veterans, by calming the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for the ‘fight-or-flight’ responses to danger.”

    AtOne founder, Edwina Griffin,

    “We’re proud to support such an important program with the potential to help so many in the local veteran community. AtOne’s suite of multi-sensory experiences, tools and training is an innovative example of the power of extended reality and speaks to the impact this technology can have in enhancing health and wellness.”

    Thomas Dexmier, ANZ Country Manager at HTC VIVE,

    Edwina also teamed up with Indigenous elders to include original music on AtOne.

    RSL LifeCare Veteran Wellbeing Centres offer a veteran-centric program of health, wellbeing and support services to help veterans and their families thrive in their local community. Veteran Wellbeing Centres are supported by RSL NSW and local sub-Branches.

    See how the app works here.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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