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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on people’s mental health. According to Mind, 30% of adults and 34% of young people reported that their mental health worsened over the course of the pandemic. So as more young people return to the classroom, it’s more important than ever for schools, colleges and universities to provide support for their students’ mental health.

Mindfulness is often suggested as a strong strategy for improving and maintaining good mental health. Through meditation and breathing exercises, mindfulness aims to help people focus on the present moment, rather than past issues or what-if outcomes. As a result, there’s been a recent swell in the number of mindfulness-based podcasts, videos, and games available to help people who are struggling with their mental health.

Using Virtual Reality To Improve Student Mental Health

Virtual reality is among the newest platforms offering mental health support. The nature of VR makes mindfulness and meditation a more personal experience — no more one-size-fits-all solutions to deeply personal problems. In addition, VR is truly immersive, so it’s easier to tune out of those difficult or distracting thoughts and focus on the here-and-now.

We recently partnered with Middlesbrough College, a long-time Discover eLearning customer, to get students’ feedback on 4 different VR experiences for mindfulness and meditation.

4 Mindfulness VR Experiences Put To The Test

Jake, a media student, and Lee, who studies catering and hospitality, played 4 games: Where Thoughts Go, Maloka, Guided Meditation VR, and TRIPP. They talked us through their experiences, and how they felt each game could support people’s mental health.

VR Mindfulness Apps

Where Thoughts Go

Where Thoughts Go is a place people can leave their fears, dreams, thoughts, and memories for others to discover. This anonymous project aims to connect people by assuring them they’re not alone in their thoughts. The serene setting creates a sense of safety and inclusion, where you can explore and leave your own thoughts behind, too.

“I felt relaxed, and I could speak truthfully,” said Lee. “People do block things in, and then make themselves forget about it. But this game made me feel like I could say anything.

“This would help so many people. People who think they’re on their own but they actually aren’t.”


Maloka offers mindfulness support through guided meditation, movement practice, and sound baths. Set on your own island and guided by your Spirit and the Universe, this game helps players find their own sense of peace and calm.

Jake didn’t feel an immediate impact after a single game session, but he enjoyed it nonetheless. “I would score it a solid 8. It was very smooth, and all the graphics were in the right place.

“You’d have to obviously give it some time. Maybe after a couple of sessions it would begin to work. If it was just purely for meditation and that’s all you use it for, then it’s going to be perfect.”

Guided Meditation VR

Guided Meditation VR uses all the components of traditional imaginative meditation — a peaceful setting and soft soothing sounds — and brings them to life. With more than 40 environments and 200 audio tracks to choose from, you can create your own safe, happy place.

Lee found the experience very calming. “I just felt so relaxed. The game we were playing was absolutely perfect. You could help so many people with it.

“They say this is what people need. [This game] was perfect for people who need the extra help.”


TRIPP offers a more interactive mindfulness experience than some of the other games we tested. Including mini-games and daily reflections, TRIPP aims to improve focus and attention as well as calming anxiety.

Of the games he played, Jake enjoyed TRIPP the most. “TRIPP was really good. I think that one was the best one overall, just because it had a little mini-game in there. It kind of took your mind away from other things, rather than just mindfulness.”

How to implement VR mindfulness experiences at your college

Both Jake and Lee had a really positive experience of using VR mindfulness games, and felt it had real potential for helping people overcome their mental health struggles. So how realistic is it to implement this technology at your college?

VR for FE Mindfulness Workshop Event

Investing in the right technology

First, you’ll need to make sure you have the right technology. VR headsets can cost anywhere from £200 to £1000, so buying multiple headsets can take up a sizable chunk of your budget. Alternatively, Google Cardboard offers a solution that allows you to use your smartphone as a headset. This is a great solution for colleges on a limited budget, or for implementing your own trial run before you invest more heavily.

Ask your students what they want

It’s important that you discuss the potential for this kind of technology with your students before you invest. Are they interested in using VR to improve their mental health? If so, what kind of games do they think would work for them? This can help you make the right decisions to support your students.

Talk to a VR expert

It can be difficult to implement any new technology in your organisation — and VR is no exception. To get the best out of this format, make sure you ask an expert how you can best use virtual reality to help students with their mental health. As technology in education experts, Discover eLearning can give you advice, help you run trials, and ensure you have all the technical information you need to make the right call for your students’ wellbeing.

Capture your live events on camera

We’re passionate about helping colleges implement technology for the benefit of their staff and students. We filmed this video with the approval of Middlesbrough College and the two students that took part in our workshop to show the impact of VR on student wellbeing, and to create a shareable snippet they can use to attract students to future workshop events and to show off their technology.

We’re experts in producing and editing video of live events, so if your college has an upcoming event you want to capture on camera, find out more about our video production services.

Rebecca Munton

Rebecca is a creative content writer for Discover eLearning. With a background in marketing for eLearning, she writes useful content to help staff and students get the most from digital technology and Discover eLearning's award winning WordPress-based solutions.

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