Revolutionising mental health care for youth

Lisa Franke, Founder, and CEO of Maxim VR, shares her compelling journey of breaking free with a young child from an abusive relationship and her unwavering commitment to building a nurturing virtual environment, blending VR, AI, and Peer-to-Peer support for children and teens struggling with mental health challenges.

Finding the inspiration for Maxim VR

In the face of adversity, Lisa Franke founded Maxim VR, a platform focusing on mental health care for youth. Lisa mentioned: “A few years ago, I escaped an abusive relationship with my young child. This experience solidified my understanding that every decision we make as parents profoundly impacts our children's wellbeing, self-love, self-esteem, and resilience. Maxim VR was born out of the desire to provide a non-toxic sanctuary for children and young people, shielding them from the harmful effects of the digital world."

What are the biggest challenges you face with getting Maxim VR out there?

“As a female solo founder, I know that I have to work extra hard to survive a very male-dominated tech world. On top of that, we are bootstrapped, which means we are forced to get to our milestones with less time and fewer financial resources – but this also shows the dedication and passion of the team in making a difference in young people’s lives,” Lisa says.

The company’s biggest struggle at the moment is access to advanced hardware that will allow them to build high-quality spaces quickly. “We have users waiting for the product, but we need a small financial boost before we are able to officially launch,” Lisa stated.

Lisa has started a Crowdfunding campaign to allow her team to develop further VR health spaces for children and to get closer to their ultimate goal: aiming to make Maxim VR the leading social health and wellbeing platform for GenZ.

How can Maxim VR help children and teens with their mental health?

Maxim VR is dedicated to crafting non-toxic virtual reality spaces for GenZ, all in the pursuit of enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of young people around the world. Their mission is to provide children and young adults with a healthy digital sanctuary where technology, design, and healthcare converge. The Private and Group VR spaces are designed to empower young minds to take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life and offer a unique, immersive experience that encourages relaxation, mindfulness, and positive mental health. The company’s ultimate aim is to provide instant access to both preventive and direct support through an affordable, engaging product that seamlessly combines VR, AI, and Peer-to-Peer support.

Lisa stated: "There is a significant amount of stigma and many societal taboos surrounding mental health and lived trauma. My goal is to create a space where young people can freely open up, share their experiences, and find solace within a like-minded community. Access to therapy and support is available from the comfort of their homes, ensuring that children do not have to miss school for therapy sessions. Moreover, the affordability of VR hardware compared to traditional therapy makes it more accessible. My aim is to provide personalised health spaces, offering exercises catering to a wide range of mental illnesses, including depression, OCD, phobias, and anxiety."

Maxim VR has also recently been approached by organisations to explore how Maxim VR can support children in war and conflict zones.

“Kids have the opportunity to escape to a virtual safe space where they can freely express themselves without fear of judgment while receiving the necessary professional support," she added.

"Having the ability to make a positive impact on children in the worst areas of the world would be more than I could have ever dreamt of. It is a personal goal for me to be able to help children in some of the most challenging areas of the world," Lisa emphasised.