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A Virtual World Improves Mental Health | Noah Robinson | Wondros Podcast EP 215

Originally aired on July 26, 2023

The Wondros podcast hosted by Jesse and Priscilla interviewed Noah Robinson, founder of the virtual mental health platform called Innerworld. Noah shared how his personal struggles with depression as a gay teenager led him to escape into the online video game RuneScape for 10,000 hours. While it trapped him in a virtual world, it also provided a supportive community. This experience inspired Noah to create Innerworld, which provides peer mental health support in a virtual environment using avatars. Innerworld offers support groups led by trained lay counselors on topics like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and hosts fun social events. The tools and visuals used make concepts like CBT more accessible. Members find the anonymity combined with the feeling of presence from being an avatar in a 3D space creates a safe space to open up. Many members share how the support and skills learned in Innerworld help them in their daily lives. Innerworld plans to expand support options as its community grows. The biggest obstacle currently is awareness. Innerworld wants to reach more people struggling with mental health issues who can benefit from its unique virtual support system.

How did the founder’s personal struggles lead him to create Inworld?

  • Founder Noah Robinson escaped into the online video game RuneScape for 10,000 hours as a depressed gay teenager
  • The game provided him an anonymous supportive community, though also trapped him avoiding reality
  • This experience inspired him to create the virtual peer support platform IInnerworld to help others

What does Innerworld provide as a virtual mental health platform?

  • Innerworld offers support groups led by trained lay counselors on topics like depression, anxiety, PTSD etc.
  • It also hosts fun social events and hangout spaces for members
  • The 3D environment and avatars create anonymity while retaining feeling of human presence
  • Tools and concepts like CBT are presented visually to increase accessibility

How does Innerworld help its members?

  • Members share how Innerworld provides a safe space to open up without judgment
  • The skills and support in Innerworld help them face challenges in daily life
  • Innerworld fills gaps in traditional mental health treatment with its unique approach

What are Innerworld’s growth plans and obstacles?

  • Innerworld plans to expand support options as its community grows
  • The biggest current obstacle is awareness – reaching more people who can benefit