Since 2020, when Covid-19 started, the world has been forced to embrace the various possibilities of 21st-century technology. We started to work from home, and that become our new normal, but for some people, this change wasn´t that easy. Many people felt disconnected, isolated after being in lockdown for an extended period, so there has also risen the likely need for providing aid to those who cannot cope with it as well as others can.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes our emotional, physiological, and social well-being. It also affects how we think, feel, and how we act. It helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
How can we improve?
There isn’t a universal answer for this question, but there are some solutions and techniques that can improve our mental health, and one of them is gamification.
Gamification and gaming more specifically have been used as therapeutic tools. The activity of playing allows children and grownups to express themselves more freely and take away barriers. Some gamification mechanics could be very powerful because they can engage and immerse players. As players lose themselves in the game, they no longer consciously think about their problem, and they enter into a stage of “flow”.
Through specific gamification mechanics, gamification can be used to observe and analyse the interactions and reactions of a person and use this data to develop a more effective therapy. Gamification will never replace therapy, but a gamified environment can engage more efficiently patients and improve their mental health faster.
We already have some good examples available used to improve mental health. There is an app designed to help reduce depression. It has several levels where players go through, solving puzzles, completing quests, and learning methods to better manage their mental health. Using specific game elements such as customization, purpose and mastery, the game helps teach players various skills that can better “shield” them from depression.
Other good examples have been applied to mood and resilience, anxiety disorders, tobacco and substance misuse, sleep, wellbeing, and serious mental illness.
In the physical and mental health field, what we call PBL (Points, Badges and Leaderboards) are mostly used to engage people that need help coping with their problems.
Gamification can be a powerful resource to help others but should never replace therapy.