NewPath has significantly contributed to advancing mental health care by integrating innovative digital technologies into clinician education and practice. In collaboration with the American Psychological Association (APA), a leading authority in mental and behavioral health research, we developed the first educational courses about the use of virtual technologies for mental health, offered accredited to clinicians. These courses are designed with a scientific backing, and focus on enhancing the practical skills of mental health professionals in providing effective patient care. This approach not only aids in their professional development but also enriches their understanding of patient experiences, leading to more empathetic and effective treatments.
The APA and similar organizations focus on digital therapeutics reflects the growing importance of technology solutions in mental health. Our alignment with the APA’s rigorous standards emphasizes our commitment to evidence-based practices and the continual improvement of mental health care.
NewPath’s role in this evolving landscape is grounded in scientific advancement and practical benefits for clinicians, aiming to enhance the overall quality of mental health treatment. Our efforts are driven by a mission to support the mental health community through credible, effective, and innovative technology solutions.
The Digital Education Days held across the San Francisco Bay Area have been a beacon of technological exploration and cultural enrichment for the community. These events, prominently featured in numerous community centers and public libraries, offered residents free access to a world of virtual reality (VR) experiences.
These gatherings were not just about technology but also about bridging cultural and linguistic gaps. The software library, thoughtfully organized to cater to various age groups, brought art, music, and global travel experiences to life for non-English speaking residents. They were astounded by the immersive journeys, which transcended language barriers and opened new windows to the world.
Meanwhile, younger attendees were captivated by VR cartoons and stories that placed them right in the heart of their favorite narratives. This fusion of technology and storytelling transformed traditional library spaces into vibrant hubs of interactive learning and entertainment, enriching the community’s cultural fabric.
As they work to improve the health and wellness of youth, Larkin Street coordinates with various organizations to find community resources, behavioral health services, and other support for the youth they work with. Charieke Robinson, a Learning Center Health and Wellness Instructor at Larkin Street Academy, reached out to NewPath in the search for support to provide virtual reality experiences to help youth in exploring and transforming moments of loss.
Digital inequities can be bridged. VR isn’t for those who are better off. Just the opposite. One of its benefits is that it makes available tools and skills training to everyone that were previously unobtainable. VR offers the ability to help people by not relying solely on their own creativity and visualization alone.
At Larkin Street Youth, Lisa and Fred Davis worked with the participants in an exercise about examining a moment of loss, by having them drawing and writing about it, before ultimately creating a representation of the moment in virtual reality. They used the Google Tilt Brush to construct nature environments, graffiti, and abstract art when prompted to express themselves with the 3D painting program. Additionally they explored applications using music and other ways to embody their experiences in virtual reality, allowing them to explore and express themselves in a variety of ways through this transformative technology. Throughout the 4 sessions, participants at Larkin Street Youth were able to use a variety of applications to explore loss as well as express themselves in a safe space, providing them with the opportunity to have fun and be able to process difficult memories and reduce stress in a fun, creatively boundless way.
Currently, 1 in 3 youth experiencing homelessness within the U.S. live in California. With such a high rate of homeless youth in California, there is a great need for services to help youth access stable housing, education, employment, and health and wellness services. In San Francisco, Larkin Street Youth is focused on exactly that.
There are approximately 4,000 children in the Tenderloin.
The Tenderloin has the highest crime rate of any district in San Francisco. The annual crime rate has an average of 2 crimes per resident and 3 major crimes per hour. Larkin Street Youth provides a wide range of care for young people, including housing, education, employment, outreach, and health/wellness. Their aim is to not only help the homeless youth to get off the streets but also wants to improve their overall wellbeing.
An example of a lasting impact experiences, we held an eight-week digital education series, a collaborative effort between the Boys and Girls Club, Tech in the Tenderloin, and our team. The program seamlessly merged hands-on 2D art with the dynamic world of virtual reality. Designed for middle school students, this after-school program was structured around weekly themes, offering enriching exercises in self-expression and visualization.
Throughout the series, the students engaged in meaningful activities that not only fostered their creativity but also provided a supportive environment for them to navigate and express complex emotions such as fear and loss. The integration of virtual reality was a highlight, giving these young minds the tools to translate their inner thoughts into striking 3D art.
The program culminated in a compilation video showcasing the students’ 3D art creations, a testament to their imaginative capabilities and the effective blend of technology and traditional art in education. The series not only served as a great bonding experience but also recognized each participant’s dedication and enthusiasm, with all students receiving certificates of completion. This collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club illustrates the power of combining technology and art to enrich youth education and emotional well-being.