Discipline: Computer Sciences and Information Management
Subcategory: Computer Science & Information Systems
Room: Exhibit Hall
Shaimeira Meekins - Morgan State University
Co-Author(s): Dr. Naja Mack, Morgan State University, Baltimore MD
Mental health disparities have become a massive concern within the African American communities. Research has shown that African Americans often receive poorer quality of care and lack access to culturally competent mental health care services due to barriers such as lack of trust, understanding, and this misrepresentation of symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. To address this issue, culturally responsive care can be utilized by integrating virtual reality (VR) which can be used to address persistent, widespread, and complex issues of mental health, but it can only help if it is inclusive. VR technologies have become more accessible and affordable in recent years which has opened the way for new methods and opportunities in the field of digital learning. This research aims to design, develop and evaluate the usability of Dreadphobia, a VR application built in Unity cross-platform engine, that provides evidence-based information and resources about various mental and behavioral issues in the African American communities in an engaging way. The Meta Quest 2, formerly known as Oculus Quest 2, headset was utilized to help create an VR escape room environment that allows individuals to explore and find hidden facts about different mental health illnesses surrounding the Black communities. The application has gamification features such as music, sound effects, teleportation and scoring. Overall, this research will contribute to bringing awareness to the mental health disparities within the African American communities as well as help individuals with mental illnesses to help seek treatment. This article presents the results from a usability study that aimed to reveal areas of confusion in the system, uncover opportunities to improve the overall user experience, and learn about user’s behaviors and preferences. Gregg, L., & Tarrier, N. (2007). Virtual reality in mental health. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, 42(5), 343-354.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NIH RISE 5R25GM058904
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Naja Mack, email@example.com
Role: I developed the whole VR game as well as the two codes that was used inside of the game.