Scientists hope computer programme which requires no human therapist could be used to treat other mental health problems

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A fear of heights could be overcome with the help of a virtual therapist, new research suggests, with experts saying the findings boost hopes virtual reality could play a key role in tackling other mental health problems.

According to a 2014 YouGov survey, an aversion to heights is more common in the UK than a fear of spiders, snakes, or being on a plane, with 23% of British adults “very afraid” of heights and 35% a little afraid.

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Mental health is a level of psychological well-being, or an absence of a mental disorder; it is the "psychological state of someone who is functioning at a satisfactory level of emotional and behavioral adjustment".

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