Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

February 8, 2024

Otsuka and Jolly Good to Start Delivery of FACEDUO Content for Family Support of People with Severe Social Withdrawal (Hikikomori)

FACEDUO is a virtual reality program for social skills training support

Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Otsuka) and Jolly Good Inc. (Jolly Good) announce they have started to deliver new content for family support of people in Japan with severe social withdrawal (hikikomori), via the social skills training (SST) program FACEDUO.

Otsuka and Jolly Good launched the first phase of the joint mental healthcare SST support program utilizing VR FACEDUO in October 2022.

Using VR to recreate realistic scenarios from everyday situations like home or work makes it easier to understand the experiences of those involved. This in turn helps to improve communication and understanding between patients, facility staff, and their supporters, such as family members. In addition, advice for patients is displayed in the VR images, allowing high-quality SST to be conducted regardless of the expertise or length of experience of patients' supporters.

The newly developed family support program for people with severe social withdrawal allows families to experience the perspective of the patients through VR. By switching the perspectives (between family members and patients) and encouraging them to reflect on their responses, the program promotes insights for improving communication, thereby supporting the enhancement of relationships between patients and families.

Additionally, participants can learn dialogue skills through explanations based on expert knowledge. Verbal as well as non-verbal nuances such as facial expressions can also be learned through VR. This program is designed to be used in family classes conducted by consultation agencies and facilities nationwide that provide support for socially withdrawn individuals.

■ Severe (long-term)social withdrawal is becoming a social issue

It is estimated that over 1.4 million people in Japan are in a state of social withdrawal.*1 The long-term nature of social withdrawal is becoming a problem due to the hesitation of individuals and their families to seek consultation or medical treatment at institutions due to mental health conditions such as depression, as well as prejudice and misunderstanding regarding social withdrawal. Delays significantly hamper the start of support.

*1 Cabinet Office survey (announced on March 31, 2023: Survey on Children and Young People's Consciousness and Lifestyle for Fiscal Year 2022)