The problem we solve: 1 out of 5 adolescents will be diagnosed with depression in the US. Currently we are seeing a rise in suicidal ideation and self harming more then ever in our country. At this stage in our project our aim is to support teens and young adults who are suffering and to disrupt the over medicating of children . THERA is a distress tolerance tool which a youngster can use and have live counseling in virtual reality with a real therapist. The problem is many kids do not ask for help, or turn to their resources when in distress. However they feel more comfortable with technology and feel this is more anonymous. How can we reduce and prevent these suicidal and self harming relapses?
About our solution: THERA is providing live counseling in virtual reality using avatar technology. Our solution is to combine the concept of how youngsters feel more comfortable using technology and bridging that gap by incorporating real counseling in dyadic form. The client also has the option of customizing their avatar therapist to make it feel as comfortable as possible.Progress to date:
We are in the beta testing process of our development. At this time we have a licensed clinician testing THERA with a teenager who suffers from severe depression and self harming. After 4 trials of using THERA in 50 minute session there has been an increase in positive emotions, increased energy and motivation. We are currently recruiting more therapists to test THERA and to eventually have our metrics response ready upon 12 sessions after using product. Our partners are medical advisors in the feild of VR. ( Dr. Skip Rizzo, Dr. Walter Greenleaf, and Dr. Vince Felleti). We held our first launch event where our advisors and members of the community came to experience the dyadic experience using THERA. At this time we are currently raising our seed funding to build and develop the new VR spaces in Unity and Web XR to support environment where clients can come to talk to their therapist in avatar form.
I will attached both photos of the designs and as well links to our demos on YouTube and LinkedIn.
Creator: Erin Bogdanski
Education: Santa Clara University
Bio: I'm a psychotherapist who has launched a mental health start up called THERA Inc. I have been a mental health practitioner for 5 years with a background in helping high risk adolescents who are self harming and suicidal. I have work for community mental health, private practice and outpatient. I also have a background in law, business, tech and education.
Title: Co Founder
Advanced Degree(s): MA
VR Designer , PHD University of Southern California
Biography: Saro has a background in VR design and strategic relations. He is a guru when it comes to designing in Unity and has a background in medical device technology. Saro takes the lead in designing the therapy spaces which will tentatively help with depression, anxiety and distress tolerance.
Title: VR Designer
Advanced Degree(s): PHD University of Southern California
Co Founder and CTO , Master of Engineering
Biography: Amit is a seasoned entrepreneur and investor. Amit has a strong background in work flow strategies and front end development. Owning two medical device companies Amit has a strong solution based background in IT development for health care.
Title: Co Founder and CTO
Advanced Degree(s): Master of Engineering
We are providing spaces in virtual reality where patients can talk to their therapist to practice harm reduction, meditation and self soothing. Coming from a background as a clinician myself in the outpatient and inpatient settings in psychiatric care , I witnessed the epidemic of high suicial ideation and self harming behaviors in children and teens. This is an epidemic and we need to have more therapy and less over medicating. Since the system does not provide traditional therapeutic services , THERA bring immediate access to live counseling in VR and can be used in the hospital or in private clinics. These spaces are HIPPA compliant , discreet and have the advatage of using the VR technology to have a completely immersive experience.
We are providing virtual offices for theapist who can build their case load using THERA. THERA provides an opportunity for therapist who can work from home or their private practice and build their practice on a VR platform. Therapists can book their clients using their laptop , smart phone or tablet and schedule their clients as needed. THERA also supports therapists who parents and can be more flexible around balancing family and work.
We can provide as an adjunct tool for paitents in distress in inpatient and outpaitent settings. As well we can provide THERA to community mental health clinics and chemical dependency units to reduce risk and relapse.
How We Address the Mission of The Challenge(s)THERA is an all in one VR platform that can connect therapists who can counseling remotely to service patients in the hospital setting. Louisiana has a shortage of mental health services and is not providing enough therapy to the public. We can provide services at an affordable cost by supporting clinics who have a shortage of therapists. With just one THERA station multiple patients can use THERA and be scheduled for a counseling session.
New Orleans and Our CompanyI'm connected with Dr. Tucker and Dr. Carol Boyce local physicians in the community.
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