#Junket 2016: Video Games & Mental Health

Featured photo by Pat Stevenson for junkee.com

 

I went to Junkee.com’s Junket in Canberra to connect CheckPoint with as many influencial, exciting, innovative and proactive people as I possibly could, and continue our activity of exploring the relationship between games, tech, and health.

 

The completed board of sessions

 

My pitch lasted 20 seconds out of an available 30 (I’ve done it a few times now!) and CheckPoint was allocated a prime slot – final session of the day, within the Qantas Innovation Stream.

I’d packed my iPads and had them loaded up with games and apps I believe will convince the uninitiated of the therapeutic potential of gaming. I provided headphones, to ensure the participants got an immersive experience. We talked. And I was thrilled. So many passionate and enthusiastic suggestions; such a wide variety of experiences brought to the table, people embracing the offer of games with open arms. And super insightful questions that have piqued my excitement in exploring new routes and directions for CheckPoint’s work, from an expansive point of view and in terms of parallel initiatives.

I did my well practised spiel on the psychological benefits of games, citing the evidence by rote. Then the fun began. I learned heaps, and was so privileged to be well received.

 

CheckPoint iPad

 

Some of the themes that emerged involved:

  • Games which emulate traditional treatments, such as Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Allowing apps to “speak” to one another when a user is engaging with more than one, in order to unify their experience of electronic mental health treatment
  • Legislation around responsible portrayal of mental illness in media and screen
  • Integrating facilities into the apps and games that report back to the healthcare provider with information about the user’s activities, and perhaps insights into their psychological state, similar to the psychometric testing already in place in recruitment

And because Junket is about action and not just ideas, this is how CheckPoint are going to integrate these brilliant concepts and suggestions into their activities immediately:

  • Educating ourselves about EMDR games, exploring the evidence base and integrating this into the research section of our site, and in addition, our information packs and educational sessions.
  • Discussing with our programmers whether there is an ability for apps to talk to each other and cross-promoting this use to our allies at other mental health services in Australia
  • Continuing our work with MindFrame to inform game developers and tech industries about how to portray and discuss mental illness responsibly
  • Network with app developers providing psychometric assessment services to discuss the next steps for mental health.

 

I look forward to keeping you informed about how these action points pan out, and what we use our $200 in donations for!

 

For your reference, here are the games and apps that we played:

  • ReachOut Orb
  • ReachOut Breathe
  • ReachOut Worrytime
  • Monument Valley
  • Prune
  • Alto’s Adventure
  • Thomas Was Alone
  • TRAUMA
  • Breath of Light
  • Viridi
  • Smiling Mind
  • HeadSpace
  • SuperBetter

 

CheckPoint Copyright 2017, ACN 612816841 ABN 50 612 816 841. We are an Australian Health Promotion Charity with TCC and DGR Status.
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