Building empathy and understanding of mental illness through the power of 360 video
With over 3,500 staff members and 800 patients, Western State Hospital (WSH) is one of the largest state-run mental health facilities in the country. Preparing new employees to work in a highly sensitive and sometimes dangerous environment can be quite a challenge. WSH turned to the power of 360 video to give new team members the opportunity to ‘step inside’ the life of a mental health patient. The final VR-powered training experience became the cornerstone of the hospital’s recently overhauled new employee training program.
Improve the patient care experience by building empathy and understanding of mental illness.
Develop a 5-part 360 video mini-series that integrates with the hospital’s two-week new employee training program.
An industry-first VR training course that allows new hospital employees to experience life as someone with a severe mental illness.
Why 360 Video?
360 video has the ability to create presence and make the viewer feel as if they are in a different place, time or situation. Leveraging this power, WSH was able to give new employees a never before possible perspective on mental illness. For the first time in their industry, employees are now able to experience what it’s like to suffer from severe schizophrenia.
Terry S. Registered Nurse – WSH
"I’ve heard people say they hear voices, but I’ve never seen something make it so real. I think this will help me when I’m talking to (patients) and they’re not responding."-Terry S., Registered Nurse, Western State Hospital
Immersive Brand Strategy
WSH knew the potential a well-told 360 video experience could hold but was seeking assistance on how to best bring their vision to life on the screen and integrate the concept into their larger training program. From story development to VR headset selection to choosing the right content distribution software, CM&D was able to help WSH create the perfect plan that even the Washington State Governor could get behind.
Ensuring the final VR experience properly represented the hospital’s staff and patient population was incredibly important to WSH. By working closely with the project team, medical professionals and hospital patients, CM&D was able to cast a diverse talent pool and write over 45-minutes of script that aligned perfectly with the hospital’s vision and training curriculum. CM&D provided all creative services on this project including scriptwriting, talent casting, set decoration, creative direction, post-production supervising and more.
360 Video Production
With over 60 cast members and more than a dozen filming locations spread across two states, CM&D had their work cut out to bring this project to life. The final experience was filmed over two weeks on 8k Insta360 Pro II VR cameras and by leveraging custom microphone arrangements to help capture spatial audio in the unique filming locations. In addition to 360 video production, CM&D also provided a second 2D film crew to capture complex story elements that added a unique touch to the final experience. CM&D handled all production and post-production services on this project.
Distribution Strategy & Development
Having a clear distribution plan for your VR experience is one of the most important considerations that needs to be made before beginning production on any immersive project. From day one, CM&D worked closely with hospital trainers and staff to select the optimal VR headsets, content management software (powered by ShowtimeVR) and helped lay out a plan for using the final experience in a classroom training environment.
Immersive Brand Activations
With more than 75 VR headsets to manage, maintain and keep sanitary, CM&D also assisted WSH with creating a list of user experience best practices and hosted an in-person training for hospital staff to help ensure everyone remains comfortable and safe during VR content viewing.
"It’s been phenomenal. It’s changed peoples’ demeanor and the way they handle things. They handle us (patients) with more care."-Anonymous Patient., Western State Hospital