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NSW Veterans Recipients of World-first Virtual Reality App for Mental Health

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NSW veterans are the first in the country to ​​use AtOne, the world’s first immersive virtual reality (VR) app, AtOne, to target stress and build mental fitness from Sydney mental health expert Edwina Griffin.

Edwina is helping NSW veterans suffering from PTSD, stress and mental health issues, to build their mental fitness and resilience in a collaboration with RSL Lifecare Veteran Services, who received a grant from the Veterans Wellbeing Grants Program (VWG) to provide, develop and maintain an Emotional Regulation Program for the NSW veteran community.

Photo from WaldeComms

The University of Western Sydney and Frontline Mental Health are also working on the program, which will provide emotional techniques, regulations, courses and immediate skills. Sites for the project initially includebHomes for Heroes in Narrabeen, Nowra and Riverina Veteran Wellbeing Centres.

AtOne founder, Edwina says, “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.”

Dave Anderson, Executive General Manager RSL LifeCare Veteran Services, says, “RSL LifeCare Veteran Services is spearheading a Department of Veteran Affairs Wellbeing grant-funded project to enhance emotional regulation in NSW’s veteran community. 

Photo from WaldeComms

“We’ve partnered with At One, Frontline Mental Health Services, and Western Sydney University to develop and assess a unique emotional regulation model. This initiative, benefiting current and former ADF personnel and their partners, employs innovative techniques such as virtual reality, group sessions and mindfulness.”

Todd Berry, former Major, Infantry/Commando, has been using AtOne for 18 months. He says, “This is an awesome tool to support individuals with mental health conditions and also has great benefit as a proactive measure.

“There is a lot of empirical data supporting the efficacy of meditation and mindfulness. I incorporate the platform into my sleep hygiene each evening, however it can be used any time of the day. AtOne provides an extra dimension to meditation, mindfulness and visualisations, and is perfect for beginners and novice practitioners.”

Photo from WaldeComms

AtOne is the world’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 or MetaQuest virtual reality headsets, AtOne users can meditate amongst real and virtual scenes, including forests and the beach, and other bodies including the Australian Institute of Sport’s European Training Centre are currently using it.

Edwina, who has also worked with victims in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, also teamed up with Indigenous elders to include original music on the app.

*Cover Photo/Thumbnail Photo from WaldeComms

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