New technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and mobile apps are increasingly being developed and trialled therapeutically to help treat anxiety disorders. Despite this increasing market, there is little research on how the public perceive the incorporation of these innovative technologies in anxiety treatment. This study aimed to describe knowledge, awareness and perceptions of VR and mobile apps for the treatment of anxiety. To do this, a survey was disseminated to those aged 18 to 35 with no current or previous mental illness via social media and poster advertisements, and 57 individuals participated. Results demonstrated that most individuals had limited knowledge on the use of VR and mobile apps in mental health, but overall demonstrated positive perceptions and high optimism regarding its potential use. Neither treatment modality was perceived as being as effective as standard treatment; however, participants were willing to use either modality if recommended by a therapist and use both in conjunction with standard treatment. Participants demonstrated a willingness to use a mobile app as a first point of contact. These findings have implications for the way in which these technologies are rolled out to the public.
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Copyright (c) 2020 Rebecca Kirkham, Ms, Caitlin Batten, Ms