June 12, 2024

Health Back

Professional Health Makers

WVU researchers using virtual reality gaming to address behavioral health care workforce shortage | Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

WVU researchers using virtual reality gaming to address behavioral health care workforce shortage | Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Digital
actuality games are a superior type of leisure and peace, but for this workforce
of West
Virginia University
School of Social
Get the job done
researchers, virtual actuality
gamification is becoming employed as a launchpad to occupations in behavioral overall health.

Perform educators Megan Gandy
and Jacki Englehardt, along with pupils Rachael
Pellegrino and Abbi Davis, embarked on Participate in Increased to handle the shortage in the behavioral health and fitness workforce in West
Virginia. The task applies gamification to build career passions and
readiness, working with virtual reality and simulation. It introduces players to a “day
in the life” of a behavioral well being worker.

The Play Bigger task, started and directed by
Gandy, has been given assist from the West Virginia Increased Education Policy
Fee, which also encourages undergraduate college students to changeover to
graduate university for behavioral well being occupations.

“The call for proposals was about profession pipelines
in behavioral health and fitness and it targeted middle and substantial university college students,” claimed
Gandy, associate professor. “In other job pipelines like in STEM, they will
ordinarily use anything like a enjoyment experiment or some thing about mother nature that
get youngsters energized about science or STEM professions. How do we do that with staying a
therapist?  I made the decision to make the process
of supply the enjoyable section and make it gamified. “That was where the notion emanated from of developing a digital reality sport expertise that introduces little ones to the behavioral wellness part of social do the job.”

The United States at the moment faces a scarcity of
mental well being specialists – an difficulty that bleeds into West Virginia as
accessibility to those people solutions in rural spots are by now missing. Including
staff to the behavioral health and fitness and social function fields would be of enormous
benefit to the point out.

Carolyn Canini, director of behavioral health
courses, West Virginia Larger Education Policy, claimed the staff members of the Overall health
Sciences Division welcomed Gandy’s modern thought to boost the amount of
pupils pursuing behavioral health and fitness schooling in West Virginia.

“Our condition is going through a scarcity of behavioral
wellbeing industry experts and it impacts the wellbeing of small children, grownups and
family members,” Canini reported. “It is crucial to the health and fitness of West Virginians that
we introduce center and high university pupils to potential careers in
counseling, social function, psychology and behavioral medicine. Participate in Increased does
this in a enjoyment and educational way, letting learners experience some of the
every day duties of a social employee, all within just a extremely interactive virtual

The challenge had an advisory board of specialists
that guided articles and storylines for the video game, so as to have interaction ethically with
the young ones and to keep away from triggers. The board provided behavioral health
industry experts, lecturers and youth enhancement industry experts. The game was also vetted
by an advisory board of youth.

Becca Fint-Clark, Extension agent of 4-H Youth
Progress, claimed WVU Extension partnered with Gandy and her group
to offer job readiness routines whilst rolling out Engage in Higher digital
actuality encounter among the middle and large university pupils. WVU Extension to begin with
reached out to younger men and women through Monongalia County with hands-on
academic ordeals. This shift helped present the project with
college students and contacts to wonderful-tune the application in advance of featuring it on a much larger

In developing the storylines for the match, the task
partnered with Heather Cole, educating assistant professor at WVU Reed College or university of Media and head of Mon River Online games, a neighborhood non-gain. Also,
as companions, Roundtable Learning’s designers engaged in knowledge the finest
layout to use in building the suitable encounter for learners. With the project
at the moment targeted on youthful students, Gandy stated the upcoming stage of the task
will goal older and non-standard college students.



Make contact with: Jake Stump
WVU Investigate Communications
304-293-5507 [email protected]