A study of virtual reality as a mental health tool and its impact and potential in the healthcare sector

  • Mariavirginia Giudice (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The recent global attention to the importance of mental health has created a growing demand for effective and accessible treatments. Innovation and technology have advanced to meet this demand, consequently disrupting the healthcare sector. Virtual Reality (VR), a technology that integrates users with an immersive computer-generated space, has been developed as a sophisticated treatment tool for various mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and dementia. Start-ups noticed this opportunity and quickly adapted the technology from the experimental stages to a marketable product. The objective of this study was to analyze the impact of the emerging market for VR mental health treatment on the healthcare sector in Europe, and to explore the potential future impact and evolution.This study was conducted via qualitative research consisting of two approaches: desk research and semi-structured interviews (SSIs) with founders and employees of Europe’s leading start ups in this market. This investigation combined a sector analysis and interviews to create three case vignettes. This case-based research approach was developed to incorporate the sector’s context, general and theoretical concepts, and the reality experienced by current market players. The hardware segment of the VR market is dominated by the world’s leading technology companies, such as Google, Facebook and Sony, while the software segment is composed of highly competitive starts-ups. Specifically in the VR mental healthcare sector in Europe, the B2B market and delivery of SaaS is controlled by start-ups. In conclusion, while the market is still in early stages of development, it already demonstrates high growth potential.
Date of Award4 Jul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorHenrique Martins (Supervisor)


  • Healthcare
  • Virtual reality
  • Mental health
  • Digital health market
  • Innovation
  • Technology
  • mHealth


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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