CUHK , AXA Hong Kong and Oxford VR Embark on Asia’s First Partnership for Mental Wellbeing Using Immersive VR

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CUHK , AXA Hong Kong and Oxford VR Embark on Asia’s First Partnership for Mental Wellbeing Using Immersive VR
Professor Fanny Cheung, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of CUHK (left), Gordon Watson, Chief Executive Officer of AXA Asia (middle) and Barnaby Perks, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford VR (right) sign an agreement to start Asia’s first partnership for mental wellbeing using immersive VR.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), AXA Hong Kong and Oxford VR embark on a first-of-a-kind partnership to pilot a groundbreaking automated immersive therapy using virtual reality (VR) for mental health in Asia.

The pilot focuses on a jointly supported clinically-validated trial in Hong Kong using a modern VR technology platform for managing common mental health issues, such as social avoidance, anxiety and depressive symptoms in people’s daily lives and work.

In Asia, there is generally a high level of stigma surrounding mental wellbeing, resulting from a lack of awareness and education. Enabling widespread and easy access to effective new solutions has never been more critical.

This partnership brings together CUHK’s outstanding reputation for academic excellence and research, AXA Hong Kong’s unique understanding of the Asian healthcare market, and Oxford VR’s world-class clinical expertise in developing psychological therapies using immersive technology.

With over 30 years of history, CUHK Department of Psychology has gained a leading position in various psychological research areas, especially those related to cross-cultural and Chinese psychology. Its globally-recognised comprehensive curriculum and teaching methods that keep pace with the times have made possible outstanding achievements in teaching and research over the years. The collaboration with AXA Hong Kong and Oxford VR will integrate scientific research with innovative technology and training of talents in service delivery, and provide a new solution to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

AXA is proud to bring this technology to Hong Kong and Asia. Not only will it provide educational awareness on the topic and improve access to psychological services, but the partnership with CUHK will build the research evidence to advance care for common mental health conditions worldwide.

Oxford-VR believes the partnership will mark an exciting breakthrough for mental wellbeing in Asia and build on our shared vision of making effective new mental health solutions available. Ambitious action is required to tackle the growing gap between demand and supply in mental healthcare. This is a solution whose time has come and demonstrates our commitment to accelerate the adoption of evidence-based automated immersive therapy in mental healthcare by fostering relationships between academia and industry. Oxford VR, a spin-out from the University of Oxford, was founded in 2017 to develop and deliver clinically-validated digital therapeutics to deliver innovative new treatments for mental health conditions.

A variety of bilingual specially-designed scenarios will be developed for this clinically-verified trial. The pilot trial will recruit participants from the public and is expected to be completed next year.