The Department of Defense has launched a website, “Virtual PTSD Experience,” that will allow users to explore the causes and symptoms of post-traumatic stress in an anonymous setting on the Second Life virtual world platform. Second Life provides T2 a limitless space on the Internet where servicemembers can learn more about PTSD causes, symptoms and resources for information and care.
Visitors enter the Virtual PTSD Experience space through the Second Life website, which can be accessed for free. The Second Life virtual world uses avatars, or 3-D representations of individuals, to interact within the space. The avatars can walk, fly and move their bodies in many of the same ways people do. Guests can choose any of them, while providing complete anonymity for visitors to ask sensitive questions about PTSD and protecting against the stigma servicemembers associate with seeing behavioral health providers.
Once visitors have been accepted to use T2’s Second Life virtual space, named Psychological Health Island, they start at the Visitor Center, where they learn about the space and receive information about post-traumatic stress. T2 has developed several locations on the island, including the “downrange” experience, which has a simulation about the causes of PTSD, the “back home” experience, which provides information about realistic situations that can cause PTSD symptoms to show up in daily life and the “next steps” area, which has self-help information – ways to get in touch with live behavioral health providers and to access other Web resources.
Click here to visit the “Virtual PTSD Experience.”