BehaVR, which can be pronounced as “behavior,” is a reimagined healthcare platform that uses virtual reality headsets to unlock the therapeutic powers of technology to address mental health conditions and mental illness like anxiety, depression, and more. By leveraging new technologies and immersive media, the digital therapeutics company has set out to tackle the global mental health crisis at scale. Partnering with the nation’s leading academic and research institutions, as well as best-in-class international pharmaceutical organizations, BehaVR is dedicated to providing solutions that help curb anxiety-related challenges and disorders and other chronically prevalent and underserved mental health conditions and diseases brought on by both biological factors and the stresses of life.
By leveraging virtual reality tools to innovate at the intersection of behavioral science and digital therapeutics, BehaVR develops immersive, evidence-based treatment options for mental health conditions that give patients agency over their own health and generate better clinical outcomes by removing barriers to treatment. Each of the digital therapeutic and wellness programs is built on the company's S.A.F.E methodology, an acronym for tackling Stress, Anxiety, Fear, which results in the “Extinction and Extinguishing” of mental health stressors. Combined with immersive gamified experience protocols around daily tasks, the virtual reality programs equip patients with lifelong coping skills and a personal knowledge base that goes beyond just providing the resources and ability to overcome their unique mental health challenges, family history, and traumatic life events to help patients lead productive lives.
This past fall, the 2016-founded company launched its NurtureVR protocol, and over the previous winter, released its innovative workplace mental health and wellness protocol, CenteredVR. A first-of-its-kind program, NurtureVR uses the neurological benefits of the BehaVR platform to help liberate new mothers from the mental stressors of fear and anxiety that come along with motherhood. The solution uses virtual reality to provide an immersive, calming environment that provides calming meditation tools and breastfeeding support while simultaneously promoting self-care and increased resilience. Developed in partnership with Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions, the CenteredVR clinical experience is designed to reduce chronic workforce stress and offers a new way for employers to help their employees cope with the tolls of ongoing stress and mitigate its contributions to other chronic conditions like hypertension. The dynamic program gradually guides individuals through an immersive virtual reality environment using an array of mindfulness techniques to build coping and resilience skills. Both NurtureVR and CenteredVR mental health protocols continuously personalize and refine their experiences through the collection of HIPAA-compliant data during each session. Patients are generally introduced to the BehaVR mental health digital therapeutics within a clinical setting, but because the programs are experienced using virtual reality headsets, the patient can also take the digital therapeutic home and access its benefits as needed from the comfort of their own living room.
In addition to launching two innovative new solutions, the company also recently signed an agreement worth up to $140 million with Japanese pharmaceutical company Sumitomo Dainippon to co-develop and commercialize prescription therapies and general wellness products for patients with social anxiety, further cementing the powerful idea that virtual reality is unique equipped to support and heal patients’ brains and bodies as one connected system.
This article originally appeared in PSFK’s research paper, Enhancing Consumer Self-Care.