The virtual reality simulation starts out quite normal, with a woman named Melissa talking from behind a desk in a generic classroom. But then things start to take a turn for the worse.
Colours around the room became brighter and the fluorescent lights flare up, just for a second, then fade. Your skin starts to tingle as heavy breathing and the sound of water can be heard. Looking around the room, a python suddenly appears lying on a desk to the left.
Melissa starts to talk in a different language and has a python draped around her shoulders. A voice tells you to run out of the room, to pour a glass of water over Melissa, that you are worthless. These sensations carry on for what seems like an age, as all focus is lost and your palms start to sweat.
Once the six-minute simulation is over, the headset is taken off and your breathing steadies, happy to be free from such an intense experience. While those who wear the headset can remove themselves at any time from the simulation, about half of the Australian population at some stage in their life have not been able to escape that same feeling of helplessness and fear.
With one in four young Australians likely to suffer a mental health issue before the age of 25, it is a sobering thought. Clear Thinking development co-ordinator Leanne Butterworth said the simulation was created to provide an engaging way for the public to better understand how debilitating mental health disorders can be.
"This is generic to give you an idea of what this might be like for quite frequently reported symptoms," she said. "I have tried to make it as realistic as possible for people who are experiencing mental illness without making light of it and without scaring people at the same time, this isn't a horror flick.
"You can read about the symptoms in a book but without actually putting yourself in that head space, to me it is really tricky. "For a lot of people it was quite eye-opening."
Ms Butterworth said while not everyone with a mental health issue experienced every sensation in the virtual reality experience, she included them all to provide an accurate scope. "We didn't specify which mental illness we were talking about because we wanted to make it quite generic, so it could be schizophrenia, it could be anxiety or depression because they can hear voices as well," she said.
"It was more about what sort of distractions occur and trying to recreate that in this virtual world. There is no real illness specific symptoms and when we are talking about youth. If you have one kid with the same issue or set of issues, they present differently from when they are 13 or 18, or you might have two kids that are 16, same condition with very different symptoms."
Ms Butterworth aims to use the headsets as part of a workshop to help those working with people battling mental health issues.
"(I would like to turn) this into a roadshow or workshop that I can then take to high school teachers, youth workers, police, politicians, anyone who is going to deal with young people with psychosis and put them in that space," she said.
"I was talking to a politician the other day who was saying we deal so much with physical disability and adapting the environment but we don't do that with mental disability because we don't know. "If we could get this onto their heads then that could act as a starting point to say OK, how do we adapt our environment for people who are hearing voices or seeing flashes of lights. We want to give them an insight into what their demographic are dealing with."