Virtual Mental-Health Treatment
In a survey taken just a few months ago, ninety percent of respondents said the U.S. is undergoing a mental-health crisis.
Nearly one-third of U.S. adults experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression in 2021. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than a third of high-school students have experienced poor mental health in the past two years.
Simply put, mental health is a problem that needs addressing. Perhaps that’s why the global mental-health market was valued at $383 billion in 2020, and is estimated to reach $538 billion by 2030.
Mental-health apps can be helpful, but not for everyone. In-person treatments are expensive and inconvenient. And other solutions lack the modern solutions many people seek with respect to treatment. That’s why one startup is trying something different. It’s taking mental-health treatment virtual.
ZenVR is a virtual-reality company that’s created a VR meditation campus. Its platform immerses users in a zen-like world and offers calming, interactive virtual environments. Users can complete different modules and address mental-health issues they may be experiencing.
This platform may feel like playing a game. But make no mistake: its approach to treatment is serious. In fact, it’s backed by graduate-level research conducted at Georgia Tech University. In a multi-week study, meditation education was found to increase cognitive mindfulness, and decrease stress. This research was published at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in 2022.
ZenVR has pilot partnerships with music-sharing platform Soundcloud and Red Mountain Sedona Treatment Center. And it’s generated minimal revenue to-date. It’s already become the highest-rated meditation app on Quest, the VR marketplace affiliated with the Oculus VR headset, and No. 4-rated app in the education category.
Currently, ZenVR sells its platform for twenty dollars. This grants access to eight lessons. In summer 2023, the company will move to a “freemium” business model. For no charge, users will gain access to initial content and limited group meditation sessions. Subscriptions for eight dollars a month will open up complete access and private group meditation rooms.
Prior to starting ZenVR, Matt gained experience with virtual-reality technology at Google, where he was a VR UX designer. He also worked on the company’s YouTube VR team.
Before that, he was a software engineer with General Motors, an auto company. Prior to that, he worked in mobile development with SapientNitro, an advertising company.
Early in his career, Matt worked in software development with Gartner, a data and research company. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and a Master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction from Georgia Tech University.
In addition to his role with ZenVR, Yago is on the product-development team at Emory University, specializing in medical-mobile apps for clinical research. He also conducts research into mixed reality platforms and virtual reality game development.
Previously, he was a mechanical engineer with IKA, a machinery-manufacturing business. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s degree from Georgia Tech.
Eric has more than five years of experience building digital platforms and growing brands.
Most recently, he was a business data analyst with Molnlycke, a medical-equipment manufacturing company. Before that, he was a marketing analytics consultant with SouthField Group, a company representing various restaurant brands.
Prior to that, he was a digital-marketing manager with The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism, an insurance company. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Georgia Tech.