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  • Writer's pictureLeanne Butterworth

Using VR to enhance workplace mental health culture. It's not a gimmick - it's essential.

Why is VR a VITAL part of my corporate workshops? On the surface it might seem a bit gimmicky, but - the key reasons people often give for not truly listening to someone who is struggling with their mental health are this: “I don’t understand what they’re going through” or “I don’t know what it’s like”. And so they dismiss the person and their struggles. They make assumptions.

Did you know 70% of people feel dismissed when they first tell someone they’re struggling with their mental health! 70%!!! It takes a lot of guts to tell someone you're having a hard time – and to then be dismissed? That's devastating. I know what it feels like to struggle with your mental health in isolation and it SUCKS! So.. at LOSE YOUR MIND we make you FEEL what it is LIKE. You then tell someone what’s going on in a confused mind and a vulnerable heart. We take you to an uncomfortable place and hit you in the heart with the need to feel HEARD. We equip you and your team with the skills to LISTEN with love, curiosity, kindness and EMPATHY. Remember that empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Imagine a world where nobody was afraid to discuss their mental health; where people could tell their truths without fear of being judged or ridiculed; where everyone could seek the help they needed, when they needed it and feel loved and supported in the process. Imagine if everyone knew how to talk to those who were showing early signs of struggling and made them feel safe

The core purpose of LOSE YOUR MIND is to enhance human connection by challenging emotions.

Using an emotionally-driven, empathy education approach, we provide workshops that enhance an individual’s capacity for difficult conversations thereby reducing stigma and the negative consequences of disconnection. Virtual reality has proven to be an effective and efficient tool for building understanding and empathy (Schutte & Stilinović, 2017). Using fully immersive, 360-degree video, LOSE YOUR MIND connects participants emotionally with the experience of someone suffering a severe mental illness. 

The learning objectives for participants in our mental health literacy workshops are:

1.    To recognise the importance of empathy in fuelling connection with their clients, coworkers and families.

2.    To develop personal insight into their own need to be heard and for human connection.

3.    To gain a greater understanding of the issues faced by those struggling with their mental health.

4.    To create safe spaces for open communication and connection thereby reducing the stigma of mental illness.

What other reasons do you think people have for not truly listening to someone who is having a hard time? Why don’t we engage in hard conversations? What stops us from opening our heart and listening with love? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


*Schutte, N., & Stilinović, E. (2017). Facilitating empathy through virtual reality. Motivation and Emotion, 41(6), 708–712. doi:10.1007/s11031-017-9641-7

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