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Our multidisciplinary team leverages human-centered design, education, and implementation science to uncover and overcome obstacles that prevent quality mental health treatments from reaching underserved communities.

Center Partners Spotlight: Bjorling and Sonney’s Virtual Reality Research Attracts Media Attention

Teens today are dealing with unprecedented stressors, and over the past decade their mental health has been in sustained decline. Levels of anxiety and depression rose after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Compounding the problem is a shortage of mental health providers — for every 100,000 children in the U.S., there are only 14 child and adolescent psychiatrists.

In response to this crisis, University of Washington researchers studied whether virtual reality might help reduce stress for teens and boost mental health. Working with adolescents, the team designed a snowy virtual world with six activities — such as stacking rocks and painting — based on practices shown to improve mental health.

Read the full story here: UW News – Virtual reality environment for teens may offer an accessible, affordable way to reduce stress