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#BellaNaijaMCM Emmanuel Okon of Vmedkit is Democratising Access to Mental Healthcare Using Virtual Reality

BellaNaija.com

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We love how technology is being used to solve problems and make life easier in virtually all aspects of life. Today, for our #BellaNaijaMCM feature, we’re celebrating Emmanuel Okon, who is using technology to democratise access to mental healthcare.

Emmanuel is the founder of Vmedkit, a social enterprise which is leveraging Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy to revolutionise mental health.

One in four people will be affected by mental or neurological disorders in their lifetime, says World Health Organisation (WHO).

An estimated 20 – 30% of Nigerians are living with mental illness, according to this study.

Another WHO report says that 14% of the global burden of disease is attributed to mental, neurological, and substance use disorders and most of the people affected – 75% in many low-income countries – do not have access to the treatment they need.

Vmedkit is now working to ensure mental healthcare gets to everyone, everywhere.

The platform offers patients with mental illness a therapeutic escape from pain, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and PTSD.

It also teleport patients around the world to tranquil nature environments where they can relax. Therapists can also gradually expose patients to phobias or sources of distress to increase a patient’s anxiety tolerance.

Emmanuel is a first class graduate of Statistics from the University of Ibadan in 2016. While undergoing the compulsory one year national youth service in Nigeria, he came across a mental health awareness campaign and got interested.

With his knowledge of programming, 3D modelling and VR technology, Emmanuel wanted to find a way to use technology in mental health.

That’s how Vmedkit was born. Emmanuel founded the company with Feyisetan Oluwatoyosi (COO), a clinical psychologist, and Igboba Philip (CTO).

In 2018, Emmanuel and Philip were part of the four-person team that came third at the FirstBank Fintech 2.0 hackathon.

Earlier this year, Emmanuel was named among the 22 social entrepreneurs that for the 2019 Yunus&Youth Fellowship Programme.

He’s also one of the 20 finalists for the 2019 Anzisha Prize.

Emmanuel and his team are making a bold and ambitious move to bring therapy to patients with mental illness and we’re rooting for them!

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