Category: Articles

Selected as Best National Digital Solution for the International Award in Health and Well-Being

HACK THE GAPS – DIGITAL SOLUTIONS FOR THE UN SDGS: THE WSA NOMINEES OF 2020

Milan/San Diego/Salzburg

2 November 2020

Professor Giuseppe Riva, Professor Brenda K Wiederhold and Dr. Luca Bernardelli are pleased to announce that COVID Feel Good HAS BEEN SELECTED AS BEST NATIONAL DIGITAL SOLUTION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL AWARD IN THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING CATEGORY.

Smart content combined with optimized utilization of state-of-the-art technology offers immense opportunities to close global and local divides and the achievement of the UN SDGs. COVID Feel Good was nominated as best national digital solution for Italy for the international WSA Award, selecting digital innovations with a positive impact on society.  With this nomination in the Category Health and Well-being, COVID Feel Good qualifies for evaluation by the WSA Online Jury 2020 among over 340 international nominations – showcasing the global dimension of digital innovation, from Canada to Indonesia, from Finland to Mozambique.

The WSA nominees 2020 show the richness, diversity, future, and innovation of digital solutions on a global scale and prove how digital technology can improve society on each corner of the world.

COVID Feel Good has been selected as best national digital solution for Italy for the international WSA.  But it reaches beyond the borders of Italy and has become a truly international effort, with over 10 countries now participating in this Positive Technology initiative.

Living in the time of the coronavirus means experiencing not only a global health emergency but also extreme psychological stress that puts a strain on our identity and our relationships.

COVID Feel Good is a weekly social self-help protocol based on a virtual reality experience, requiring just twenty minutes daily, helping you in relieving anxiety and stress and improving well-being and social connectedness.

https://www.covidfeelgood.com/home 

It is FREE and it requires just TWENTY MINUTES everyday for a week.

VR Video, Protocol and Instructions in English, Español, Français, Português do Brasil, Italiano, 한국인, 日本語, Deutsche, Català and Türkçe are available below.

Please help us in spreading this protocol by posting in your social accounts our videos (in English, Spanish, French, Brasilian/Portoguese, Italian, and Catalan)

The WSA 2020 nominees will be evaluated based on seven fundamentals criteria: Content, Functionality, Design, Technology, Innovation, Impact and Value.

WSA combines two major perspectives in its initiative – first the commitment of the UN SDGs, and how to use ICTs for development.  And second the development of a global knowledge society. The UN SDGs must be our measurement – in terms of what to look at and where to look. Today we are living in a completely different environment – through the mobile revolution, through the emergence of the algorithmic age – data has become capital just as much as labour, land, money and machinery. Hence, it is more important than ever to fully evaluate what excellent content is and what it really offers in terms of solutions and impact. Qualitative, local content has become the key and permanent issue. WSA presents innovation that uses ICT for social connectivity. To connect for impact.“ WSA Chairman Peter A. Bruck states.

The WSA nominees are selected carefully and highly competitively by the WSA National Experts from more than 184 UN member states. The WSA National Experts nominate up to eight projects for each country – one for every WSA category.

A nomination to the WSA hence is already an award in itself – the qualification to compete and compare on an international level and being the best practice in Health and Well-being nationally.

About the WSA

The WSA is a global initiative within the framework of the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). WSA is the only ICT event worldwide that reaches the digital driven social impact community in over 180 countries. WSA highlights digital content that is improving society and focuses on local content with global relevance.

Visit us on www.wsa-global.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, #WSA20

Media Contact WSA:

Manuela Wagner

WSA Global Community Manager
manuela@wsa-global.org

+43.660.630408.7

 

Help us to help bring healing to people around the globe:

 Professor Giuseppe Riva

Scientific Coordination

Catholic University of Sacred Heart

Istituto Auxologico Italiano

Milan, Italy

 

Professor Brenda K. Wiederhold

Clinical Coordination

Virtual Reality Medical Center

Interactive Media Institute, a 501c3 non-profit

Licensed Clinical Psychologist in U.S. and Belgium

 

Dr. Luca Bernardelli

VR Development Coordination

CEO, Become-Hub

Milan, Italy

 

 

 

Management of Psychological Stress in Nurses and Teachers

The recent convergence between technology and medicine is offering innovative methods and tools for behavioral health care. Among these, an emerging approach is the use of virtual reality (VR) within exposure-based protocols for anxiety disorders, and in particular posttraumatic stress disorder. In a randomised controlled clinical trial funded by the European Commission, our team was able to show that Virtual Reality enhanced treatment is able to significantly reduce stress, while increasing coping skills.

interstress-rct

Staying Healthy and Safe Going Back to School with COVID

Going back to school can be as stressful for your kids as it is for you. But you can help make things easier by helping your children be ready well in advance of the first day of class. Being informed is the first step in staying healthy and safe going back to school. Learn all you can about the best way to keep your kids safe from the virus as well as other illnesses.

Some of the most obvious tips that we have been hearing over and over again on the news are actually some of the best ways to stay safe. Washing your hands often, using hand sanitizer, staying at least six feet away from everyone, keeping your hands away from your face, and wearing the proper face covering are the top five tips from the CDC.

It is also important to make sure your kids are mentally healthy. Kids can be just as stressed out as we are, and they just do not show it in the same way. Many times, they will not even tell you what they are feeling. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), every year, about one in five American children suffer from some type of behavioral, emotional, or mental illness. Even if your child seems happy and healthy, supporting their mental health as much as their physical health can stave off problems they may have later.

If you notice your child seems more withdrawn than usual, is not interested in their typical activities, or just seem to be more anxious or depressed, talk to them. Ask them what is going on. And if you think your child has a problem, you may want to try virtual reality therapy. At the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego, Dr. Brenda Wiederhold is available to treat any type of anxiety and various other mental health issues.

 

The Power of VR for acute and chronic pain

 

The Pain Practitioner interviewed Dr. Brenda K Wiederhold, CEO of Interactive Media Institute, a 501c3

and President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center, a California Medical Corporation.

VRMC develops VR environments, conducts clinical research studies using VR, AR, medical devices,

biosensors and pharmaceuticals in conjunction with traditional behavioral healthcare and provides patient

services at its private clinic on the Scripps Memorial Hospital Campus in La Jolla, California.

 

Pain Practitioner Interview

What You Can do to Reduce Your Anxiety About COVID-19

 

What You Can do to Reduce Your Anxiety About COVID-19

 

Since everyone reacts differently to situations like COVID-19, it is important to be prepared to handle any type of anxiety or fear you may be feeling at this time. When things in your life become so uncertain and you don’t know what is going to happen, you may begin to panic or have severe anxiety. And one of the worst things about this crisis is that most of the world is on lockdown so we cannot just go to a friend’s house, to the gym, or whatever else you typically do to deal with your stress.

However, that does not mean that you cannot do something to deal with your emotions. First of all, you don’t have to go to the gym to work out. Even if you don’t have any kind of exercise equipment at home. One of the best ways to exercise is to walk. Yes, you can go outside for a walk. Just stay at least six feet away from anyone you happen to see. Another way to get some exercise and enjoy the outdoors is gardening or yard work. Since the weather is getting warmer, go ahead and start getting your garden ready or just walk around the yard and pick up sticks, rocks, and other debris that may have made its way into your yard during the winter.

Don’t forget to talk to people. Just because you are quarantined does not mean you cannot communicate with your loved ones. Use Facetime, videochat, text, or just talk on the phone to friends, family, or anyone. Not only will you feel better, you will make the other person happy as well. Loneliness is real. Do not isolate yourself so much that you are not talking to anyone at all. Another way to help your anxiety is to use virtual reality therapy. Whether that means connecting with a therapist on telementalhealth or coming into a clinic, like the Virtual Reality Medical Center in La Jolla, Dr. Brenda Wiederhold is available to treat any type of anxiety management.

 

Talking to Your Kids About COVID-19

 

Your kids may not seem like they are anxious about this COVID-19 crisis, but they probably have a lot of questions about what is going on. For example, they are probably wondering why they have to stay home from school. Although many kids like this vacation from their daily routine, most are probably getting anxious about what is going on. The younger ones that are not in school yet may even be wondering why their siblings are home and why they cannot go see their friends or go to the park.

Do not just tell them not to worry about it and try to shield them from the COVID-19 issues. Because we all know that you cannot stop someone from worrying by telling them not to worry. In fact, in many cases, it will make them worry more. Listen to your child’s questions and answer them as best as you can. If you do not know the answer to their question, go on trusted sites like the CDC and look for the answers and ways to help your children cope. Without overwhelming your child with too much information, go ahead and let them know what is going on because what is going on in their imagination may be much worse than the truth.

If your child is really having a hard time dealing with things, it is important to get them some professional help. Although most mental health providers are not taking appointments right now because of the quarantine, you can always find online counseling. Most online counseling can be done without ever having to go to the office and can all be done from home. In addition, talk to Dr. Brenda Wiederhold from the Virtual Reality Medical Center about her options to help during this COVID-19 lockdown.

 

Taking the Anxiety Out of COVID-19 for Those with Pre-Existing Anxiety

 

During these troubling times, it is difficult for anyone to deal with their anxiety and stress. Those with pre-existing anxiety disorders can really have a tough time with the COVID-19 crisis. But there are things you can do to help yourself or others who may not be handling the situation well.

First of all, turn off the news. Watching too much coverage about COVID-19 can make anyone anxious. While it is good to be informed, it is more important to take a break from the constant worry and think about other things for a while. Your mental health needs a break sometimes.

Talk to someone if you feel like you are becoming overwhelmed. Even if you already have a therapist, they may not be available to you right now. Many mental health providers are not taking appointments right now except for virtual visits or online counseling. If your therapist does not offer this kind of help, contact one that does.

There are many out there and you don’t even need an appointment for most of them. Then you can talk to them by text, phone, chat, or videochat.   Many health plans are also relaxing their payment schedules for virtual visits during this time of “shelter in place”.

Another example would be to use virtual reality therapy. This type of therapy involves using virtual reality to expose you to your fears gradually. It works extremely well with anxiety disorders and phobias. Dr. Brenda Wiederhold of the Virtual Reality Medical Center offers treatment for all types of anxiety, phobias, and pain management.  In addition, there are  relaxation apps that one can find on the app store such as Calm, Headspace and Kardia that may help get you through these difficult times.  Remember, now more than ever, we must be mindful of our mental well-being.

Kathy Feldman

By the time I decided to do Virtual Reality Therapy I had done most everything else I could possibly do that was offered. I had done:

  • Cognitive Therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Hypnosis
  • EMDR
  • A Fear of Flying Clinic

At the time, the closest Virtual Reality Medical Office to my home was in San Diego, an eleven-hour car ride away. I had never had a problem flying until 1994, when my family and I boarded a small, general aviation plane for a tour over the Grand Canyon. While the plane was built for a fewer amount of people, we were packed into it like sardines. The plane ride was an hour’s worth of bumps, hits and jolts. It felt like the plane wanted to drop out of the sky under the weight of its many passengers and I was in a blind panic the entire time. It was this experience that imprinted a bad belief system and distorted view of flying in my head.

When the plane finally touched down, I got out of the plane and kissed the ground. Literally, the first words that came out of my mouth were “My life has been changed forever” and for seven years, that statement was true. While I continued to fly after that incident, it was never the same. For instance, when I had travel plans that involved flying, I would begin having anticipatory anxiety about three weeks before the scheduled flight. I would lose sleep. I would have nightmares. I would obsess about the flight.
My mind couldn’t think about anything else BUT the flight. My thought process would be filled with “what if’s.” It was so bad that by the time the day of travel came around, I emotionally didn’t have anything left over for the actual flight. My desire and drive and inner-strength for flying were completely zapped and spent. There was nothing emotionally left over for me to push through the actual flight. I felt paralyzed by the fear.

On one occasion, after I had boarded a plane with my two children and just before the Flight Attendant closed the door to the aircraft, I bolted off the plane leaving my children behind to fly on without me. I will never forget the tears and look of disappointment on their faces. At that point, I stopped flying all together for a number of years. I was exhausted and I was tired of putting my family through this unforgiving process each and every time we wanted to fly someplace.

Then, I found Virtual Reality Therapy. For me, because of the nature of the feedback I received during the VRT sessions, I was able to identify my “flying rough spots” easier. Virtual Reality Therapy gave me more concrete feedback about what I, as a nervous flyer, needed to work through to begin flying again. Because the “fear” had this “invisible hold” on me, Virtual Reality Therapy gave me a realistic and physiological perspective about myself that I could grasp and wrap my mind around so that I could actually understand what it was I needed to do to progress. Working yourself out of fear to the point where you can fly without anxiety or panic is a process that is unique to each person. Whatever you do, don’t stop trying – even if it seems nothing is working. In the long run, it will all pay off.

First, you need to be committed to finding a “cure” for yourself. Fear of flying is the type of thing that will creep back into your life if you don’t keep it in check. Therefore, don’t fly less because of the fear, FLY MORE! Fly as often as you possibly can. By flying more, you will be giving yourself a chance to purge your old belief system. By flying more, you will be giving yourself the chance to put your new belief system into place. By flying more, you will be able to prove to yourself that the old belief system simply doesn’t work any longer.

Helpful Hints

Take all the “decision making” out of flying beforehand. Do whatever you can “pre-flight” to prepare so that on the day of your flight, all the choices and decisions surrounding flying are done. There’s nothing worse for a nervous flier than to have to make even the simplest decisions and/or choices on the day of travel. The nervous flier’s mind is simply too balled up in fear at that point. For example:

  1. The night before you travel, lay out the clothing you will be wearing on your flight.
  2. Be absolutely packed by the day before travel, including your Bag of Tricks, which may include: 
       
    • MP3 player packed with your favorite music
    • Bottled water
    • Battery powered fan
    • Inspiration index cards
    • Pictures of loved ones
    • Reading materials
       
  3. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and checked in at the gate.
  4. Once at the airport, take a more positive cue from fellow travelers. Look around and notice how everybody is just going about their own business, without fear. Being around other travelers can put your “distorted view of flying” back into perspective.
  5. Once you have boarded, let the Flight Attendant know you are a nervous
    flier and ask to be checked on from time to time.
  6. Now that most airplanes have sky phones on them, arrange for a family member or friend to stay by the telephone while you are in flight. If you feel restless or out-of-sorts, use the sky phone to call that person. It is a very calming thing to do.
  7. Ask the Flight Attendant if you can meet the pilots. Talk with the Pilots about anything that’s on your mind. Pilots and Flight Attendants are the nicest and most helpful people. Remember, the airline industry wants your business. To get it, though, they must first earn your trust and respect – and they do this by wanting to make your flight comfortable. It’s OK to lean on them.

 

For more information on Kathy’s story, click here.

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/exposure-therapy/496547/

Exposure therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, involves subjecting patients to increasing amounts of things they fear, or otherwise hope to avoid. It is one of the great success stories of mental health, and it’s not just for phobias…

Recently, a more palatable route has been introduced with virtual reality. The Virtual Reality Medical Center in La Jolla, for example, offers VR therapy for all manner of fears. Heights, driving, needles and blood, spiders, enclosed spaces—you name it, they treat it. First steps in traditional phobia treatment sometimes involve imagining fearful scenarios, but a patient’s mind is naturally resistant to those thoughts and will go to some lengths to avoid fleshing out terrifying visions. Virtual reality scenarios have proved useful in social phobias, wherein patients have a debilitating fear of interacting with other people.

www.vrphobia.eu

www.vrphobia.com

www.fearofflyingexpert.com

frontoffice@vrphobia.com

9834 Genesee Avenue, Suite 427, La Jolla, CA 92037