Helsa’s mission is to improve mental health and wellbeing in the LGBTQ+ community, as well as other minority communities, through research based training and support solutions. We believe that education and prevention are the best tools to address stigma, discrimination and mental health disparities in society.
That's why we created Empathy VR.
The idea of Empathy VR was born in 2021 (then called 'What It's like to be me') as a reaction of wanting to make our training workshops more engaging and impactful. Soon after, we competed in and won the Rare Impact Unity for Humanity 2021 global annual challenge, for companies using VR for positive social impact, awarding us a grant as well as technical support from a dedicated Unity team.
Empathy VR is an educational virtual reality tool that increases its user’s level of empathy towards minority groups by allowing them to experience first-hand what it is like to face and work through prejudice, discrimination, and stigma as a gender, ethnic, or sexual minority person.
Increased empathetic attitudes towards minorities are consistently demonstrated to improve wellbeing, decrease experiences of minority stress, and promote healthier and more accessible workplaces. Increased empathy also improves teamwork, increases productivity, and boosts organisational growth by attracting and retaining a diverse workforce.
We are currently building the pilot VR story and are raising funds to allow us to complete and trial our pilot story with our pilot partners.
Sign up to our newsletter to be kept up to date with our progress, or reach out to explore how your company can become a pioneering pilot partner.
Marc Svensson (he/him)
Marc is social scientist, researcher, entrepreneur, and the founder of Helsa. His research centres around minority identities, and how these identities relate to health, stress and psychological wellbeing, and has published several academic papers pertaining to these topics.
He founded Helsa in 2019 to improve mental health and wellbeing in the LGBTQ+ community through research, training and support, and has created various innovative products to promote education, provide support and create more inclusive workplaces. He also has over 10 years of experience of product development.
Kate Luxion (they/them)
Kate is a social scientist, researcher, and fine artist with more than 20 years in the art and design industry. During these two decades, their portfolio includes work for non-governmental organisations and branding development.
Kate’s academic work focuses on applications of the minority stress model as a means of resolving health inequalities. Outside of working hours, Kate’s interest in gaming, including design and development, has contributed to their status as an award-winning artist.
Lee Harris (he/him)
Lee is an award winning, creative producer across a slate of XR projects. He has produced the animated VR short, Glimpse, directed by the filmmaking duo of Academy Award winner Benjamin Cleary and VR creator Michael O’Connor, and starring Taron Egerton and Lucy Boynton. Glimpse premiered at the Venice Film Festival and has gone on to appear at many other prestigious festivals.
His previous career saw him picking songs for BBC’s Life On Mars TV show, redesigning SEGA’s publishing process and introducing new revenue streams to the iconic Football Manager series of games, before moving into XR in 2018. He has a background of commercially focused experience on multi-million dollar projects