Memphis police use software to help patients with mental illness

A pair of goggles and a set of earphones work to simulate the unimaginable.

"Virtual Hallucinations" is a software program that mimics the hallucinations patients with mental illness may encounter.

What would be a quiet bus ride for most can be a frightening trip for someone who is unable to distinguish between what's real and what is not.

M.L. Clark with Memphis Police says, "The scenario was we're trying to get to the pharmacy and it was getting worse and worse and worse."

Officer Clark has come into contact with a lot of people in mental crisis during his time on the force.

Clark continues, "It's an everyday occurrence. Everyday. You know it's common."

Clark is currently in training to become a member of the Memphis Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team.

He says the Virtual Hallucinations program can help him and other officers understand the confusion and terror people with mental illness experience.

Clark says, "I guess it's hard for somebody to keep their sanity if all of that is going on at once."

Bradley Cobb is an advocate for people with mental illness.

Cobb says, "I think empathy. I think if you walk away after doing something like this and you don't have empathy I don't know that you would have a heart."

Cobb says the program teaches a lesson everyone should learn.