Game Therapy: Social Media Games to aid Mental Health?


It’s like we’ve been saying all along, games have enormous potential to help make the world a better place. In this case, social media games are helping insomniacs and those with depression and anxiety with their battles against their condition.

Some sufferers are already using computer based programmes to aid their Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) that helps them to avoid patterns and thoughts which may exacerbate their condition. However, often this computer based therapy occurs in isolation and therapists are excited by the interactive, communal and supportive potential of social networks and social media game technology to help their patients.

Therapists would like use the principles of social gaming to help create a new approach to their PC-based CBT packages, to reflect the changing ways people are using computers. Dr Shaun Lawson, who is at Lincoln University reading Computer Studies is directing the research project and he believes that CBT programmes have failed to keep up with the times.

“The way that people interact with computers these days is not by sitting down in a room on their own looking at a screen. Today people use computers to connect with each other. The way that people engage with social networks, how many times they do it in a day, it is very similar to the kind of ways that we would really want people to interact with CBT treatment,” he said.

People tend to use social networks and forums as a therapeutic space anyway, as it allows them to vent frustrations, admit failure and celebrate progress with an openness they probably wouldn’t have in real life interactions.

Dr. Lawson is also keen to utilise the addictiveness of social games to encourage patients to engage more with the Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and to keep coming back throughout the day. Also potentially creating a social game that takes some of the principles of CBT, the access to therapy for insomnia and anxiety can be widened to those who struggle to get it. Whether these CBT programmes do move to a social media platform or just take principles from social games back to a PC-based format, they will have the potential to be more effective than ever.

We too are trying to help people consider the impact of their behaviour and decisions with our new game Red Mist, a prison simulator currently in development to help tackle youth violence and crime. Just because, well, we want to help people reconsider their life choices and help make the world a better place through game technology.

For more information read the BBC News article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11454894

To read more about Red Mist visit our project page here: http://digital2point0.com/projects/red-mist/

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One Response to Game Therapy: Social Media Games to aid Mental Health?

  1. Donna Galt says:

    Hi, great story – we have an event running in Birmingham UK on 22nd October where we’ve managed to secure Noah Falstein (of Dreamworks/Lucas Arts) – he’s an authority in how businesses can use gaming to help them achieve their objectives, whether that’s increasing sales or hitting a new audience. We’re trying to attract gamers or those interested in this programme slot so can offer a limited number of free tickets (should be £199) – log on to http://www.hellobusiness.net, and when booking use the discount code WNF001. It would be great to see you there

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