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Young adolescents’ interest in a mental health casual video game

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posted on 02.09.2020 by Russell Pine, Kylie Sutcliffe, Simon McCallum, Theresa Fleming
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.

Funding

Gamified Mobile Application for Reducing Youth Depression | Funder: Victoria University of Wellington, Digital Futures Grant.

History

Preferred citation

Pine, R., Sutcliffe, K., McCallum, S. & Fleming, T. (2020). Young adolescents’ interest in a mental health casual video game. DIGITAL HEALTH, 6, 205520762094939-205520762094939. https://doi.org/10.1177/2055207620949391

Journal title

DIGITAL HEALTH

Volume

6

Publication date

01/01/2020

Pagination

205520762094939-205520762094939

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Publication status

Published

Online publication date

30/08/2020

ISSN

2055-2076

eISSN

2055-2076

Language

en

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Categories

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