43 research outputs found

    Young adolescents’ interest in a mental health casual video game

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    Background Mental distress and disorders among adolescents are well documented. Despite the array of treatments available, many mental health issues remain untreated and often undiagnosed. In an attempt to narrow the treatment gap, researchers have adapted existing mental health interventions into digital formats. Despite their efficacy in trial settings, however, real-world uptake of digital mental health interventions is typically low. Casual video games (CVGs) are popular among adolescents and may be a promising tool to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Aim We set out to explore young adolescents’ views of CVGs and their opinions of mental health CVG prototypes, to help determine whether this idea warrants further investigation. Methods Pen and paper feedback forms following a brief presentation to 13–15-year-old adolescents in seven high schools (n = 207) followed by more detailed focus groups (n = 42) and workshops (n = 21) with interested students. Findings Across all three methods, participants reported playing CVGs several times a week or day to help relieve stress, feel more relaxed and relieve boredom. Most were also interested in the idea of a mental health CVG. Participants in focus groups and workshops confirmed that playing CVGs was common among themselves and their peers, and that the idea of a CVG with subtle and brief mental health content such as game-linked ‘micro messages’ was appealing. Participants recommended that the game should have an engaging interface and subtle mental health skills and information. Conclusions Findings from this exploratory study suggest that the concept of a mental health CVG appears to be appealing to adolescents. This novel approach should be tested

    The effects of casual videogames on anxiety, depression, stress, and low mood: A systematic review

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    Background: Despite the variety of available treatments for mental health symptoms, many individuals do not engage with treatment and among those who do, dropout rates are often high. Therefore, providing alternative opportunities to access treatment is imperative. Research interest in the therapeutic effects of digital mental health initiatives and serious games has grown in recent years, but the potential of simple, easy-to-use casual videogames (CVGs) that can be played in short bursts of time has seldom been considered. Objective: The objective of the present study is to provide a systematic review of the literature examining the effects of CVGs on treating anxiety, depression, stress, and low mood. Method: A systematic search was conducted, using the terms (casual gam∗ or casual videogam∗ or mini gam∗ or minigam∗ or mini-gam∗ or gamif∗) and (mental health or anx∗ or depress∗ or stress or mood) and (study or trial or treatment or prescribed or prevention) as "Title,""Abstracts,""Keywords,"or "Topic"words across all years. A Google search was also completed to check for articles that may have been missed. Results: N = 13 studies met inclusion criteria (no studies were added via the Google search). These studies reported findings for nine different CVGs, with six studies aimed at reducing anxiety, two examining effects for depression, and four investigating the effects of CVGs on treating stress or low mood. Promising effects were identified. Conclusion: CVGs may have promise for treating anxiety, depression, stress, and low mood

    Aotearoa New Zealand Digital Tools for Mental Health and Wellbeing: Stocktake.

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    In this document, we outline key considerations and summarise Aotearoa New Zealand public facing self-help apps, websites and etherapies (digital tools) that explicitly focus on mental health and wellbeing. We provide an initial list of such tools, then present some examples in more detail

    Development of a casual video game (Match Emoji) with psychological well-being concepts for young adolescents

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    Digital interventions for mental health and well-being have been shown to be effective in trials, yet uptake and retention in real-world settings are often disappointing. A more significant impact may be achieved by building interventions that are closer to how target groups use technology to support their own psychological well-being. Casual video games may be poised to offer an opportunity in this area as they are a highly popular activity among young people. We propose that mental health content can be integrated into the explicit content and the implicit processes used in casual video games. In this paper, we describe the design and core processes of Match Emoji, a casual video game designed to support the development of psychological well-being via gameplay and micro-messages. The iterative development of Match Emoji involved various phases, including a systematic review of the literature, consultation with target users, clinicians, game developers, and close reading of the literature. Expert collaboration was sought throughout the process to ensure gameplay and messages matched behaviour change and learning theories. An acceptability and feasibility study of Match Emoji will inform a randomised controlled trial in the future
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