For thousands of years, Persian, Native American, Mexican, and Australian Aboriginal people (and so many other cultures) used the power of campfire storytelling as a way to deal with mental health issues. Stories can nurture empathy and connectedness. Sharing stories can give us the courage and empower us to honour our own and other’s personal experiences. Our family and community stories shape our beliefs and identities. When we put ourselves into a story, it becomes experience and learning follows experience. We recognise the spirit of stories that teach us throughout the course of our lifetime. The learning journey that each of us travels to arrive at an awareness of our strengths is largely the result of our learning spirit being invigorated, nourished, challenged and motivated by encounters between our own story and those of significant others.
Hōm VR is a multiplayer immersive Virtual Reality (VR) storytelling environment to be used by mental health professionals for group therapy. Hōm VR provides a multiplayer VR environment that storytellers gather participants around the fire to tell stories about their experiences. Participants have the choice to leave their stories recorded to be used by others to create empathy.
Various people will benefit from Hōm VR including but not limited to people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, the Aboriginal community, sexual assault victims, domestic violence victims, elderly people and people with PTSD.
Compare to solutions offered by telehealth which usually rely on videoconferencing software such as Skype, Hōm VR provides an opportunity of an immersive experience.