In December of this year, the Technology Cabinet of the Adolescent Resource Centre (PRC) of the Children’s Hospital Foundation will be opened, which is equipped with modern neurofeedback and virtual reality simulation equipment. This was possible thanks to the financial support of SJSC “Latvijas Loto”. Such a Technology Cabinet, where help is available free of charge, is currently the only one in Latvia, and its goal is to help children and adolescents with various mental health difficulties, using technology-based methods that are much more acceptable, interesting, and motivating for young people themselves.
“Every year, “Latvijas Loto” makes donations to public benefit organizations, thus supporting important and valuable initiatives. Among other things, those who, in the context of our Responsible Gambling Initiatives, draw attention to the issues related to process addiction. Nowadays, technological development is so rapid that sometimes our minds and habits do not keep up with this progress, thus often upsetting the balance between the virtual world and reality. Therefore, young people in particular need specialists who help to cope with the negative effects of technology by restoring the balance of mental health. “Latvijas Loto” is truly pleased and satisfied to cooperate with the Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Adolescent Resource Centre, supporting the establishment of this Technology Cabinet, where specialists will be able, by the means of these modern technologies, to provide the necessary support to young people having difficulties caused by the use of video games and various technological devices,” emphasizes Ms Aiga Roziņa, SJSC “Latvijas Loto” Marketing Director. “"Latvijas Loto" will continue to promote life in balance – between the virtual and the real worlds, so we will continue to support preventive activities that allow families to raise young people free of potential mental health problems,” she adds.
The Technology Cabinet is equipped with a unique neurofeedback technology that scans and uses human brain activity readings in real time while the person is performing various virtual reality tasks. Brain impulses are measured by electrodes placed on the scalp. It is possible for a teenager to learn to influence their thinking, concentration, and relaxation skills through a game. The measurements, in turn, are displayed on a monitor display, where they are seen by a specialist who analyses them and works with the client, helping them to understand their brain function and self-regulation.
Nikita Bezborodov, a child psychiatrist and PRC Development Manager, points out the need for the Technology Cabinet: “The new Technology Cabinet provides psychological assistance to young people with various types of difficulties – emotional, mood and process addictions. Experience has shown that many young people at risk of substance use or excessive process use also have different singularities of maturation or development, such as difficulty concentrating or impulse control issues, sometimes referred to as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Therefore, the Technology Cabinet, equipped with a simulation of neurofeedback and virtual reality, provides an opportunity to train one’s impulse control and emotional regulation abilities, which, together with other health improvement measures, can help young people to restore their mental health balance.”
Emīls Ūdris, PRC Program Manager, psychologist, adolescent mental health specialist, introduces the field of operation of the devices equipped in the Technology Cabinet: “The Technology Cabinet uses a device that measures the activity of the human brain to perform both clinical examinations – studying the function of the brain, as well as to perform neurofeedback therapy. Neurofedback is a technique that helps the client regulate the activity of their brain by displaying it on the screen graphically or in the form of games/videos. Such practice provides an opportunity to learn how to regulate one’s own emotions, recognize them and concentrate or, conversely, relax. Adolescents now have access to free innovative and modern mental health therapies that are increasingly in demand worldwide. It enables adolescents to achieve their goals and reduce the risks of substance use.”
The services of the Technology Cabinet are paid for by the state, and a referral from a medical specialist is not required. To apply for the first consultation, the adolescent or his/her parents need to contact the PRC and apply for the first consultation (www.pusaudzim.lv). During it, the teenager is introduced to the PRC, while the specialist gets acquainted with the young person and assesses the nature of the problem to assess the next steps – to admit the young person to the program or provide recommendations on the next steps to solve the problem.
The donation is made within the framework of SJSC “Latvijas Loto” Good Goals Initiative, the task of which is to financially support public benefit organizations that deal with children’s health protection, social welfare, raising the level of education, etc. In 2019, the company’s turnover was EUR 48.2 million and net profit EUR 7.3 million. Thanks to the purchase of the “Latvijas Loto” lottery tickets, the Latvian state budget in 2019 received 10.95 million Euro.