SoldierStrong, a Stamford nonprofit that provides advanced medical technologies to veterans, has signed a memorandum of agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on an initiative to use a virtual reality (VR) system in the treatment of patients experiencing post-traumatic stress that could lead to suicide.
Through its StrongMind Virtual Reality System, SoldierStrong will donate VR software and hardware to 10 VA medical centers in the coming year. SoldierStrong noted that an estimated 20 military veterans take their lives each day, adding that post-traumatic stress that goes without treatment is the single greatest factor for veterans who consider or attempt suicide.
“Virtual reality treatment shows promise in two key areas,” said SoldierStrong co-founder Chris Meek. “It is both clinically effective and it reduces the stigma that many service members feel about seeking treatment for their post-traumatic stress. With the rise in popularity of virtual reality in non-medical settings, such as video games, entertainment and even the workplace, there’s convincing evidence that younger veterans will be more inclined to seek treatment using VR techniques than other methods.”