My question is… Can Serious Games be the Answer to Harmful Mental Health Stigmas?
Serious Games can be used as a Tool for education-
- Infinite possibilities
- Learn by doing
- Rapid feedback cycle (Learn Faster)
- Connect emotionally and physiologically
- Tangential Learning
- Player agency (Your decisions matter.)
I wanted to create a Game that can take advantage of the key aspects of design that are available through serious games to benefit a cause for well-being.
It works with the ideas and research from Kognitos Glenn Albright, who uses serious games to simulate conversations about mental health also using these key elements.
It also works with the ideas of Doris C Rusch, who believes through metaphors games can have deeper meanings and can significantly benefit the Mental Health system through relating to the sufferers.
Are you okay addresses two common stigmas within Mental Health:
That people with Mental Illnesses are incompetent. And that people with Mental Illnesses are weak and responsible for their condition.
It also raises awareness of Suicide among sufferers.
It does this by demonstrating what it would be like if the Stigma surrounding Mental Health, existed in other situations.
This points out how hurtful, pointless and ridiculous the stigma is.
They key point to note is that is isn’t exaggerated.
The two situations presented are based off of research about how mental health sufferers are treated. I have related their condition to these specific situations based off of research about how suffers feel when living with an undiagnosed mental disorder.
For example, representing mental disorders by showing a character chained to a tree demonstrates suffers feeling isolated, trapped and unable to move forward.
In the conversation the suffer mentions four common feelings among suffers of Mental Disorders who have not been diagnosed or treated. For example feeling, isolated from other people.
Its outlining in bold the idea that you should treat people who are mentally suffering, with just as much respect as those who are physically or literally suffering.
At the end of each level you are then made aware that the game is referring to mental health stigmas with information about them.
There is also a level in which you experience in brief suicide, and then are provided with information about how the Stigma can lead to suicide. There is also a mechanic implemented that when you enter the area, there is a 50/50 chance that your sufferer will commit suicide.