An evaluation of 'Reach Out Central': an online gaming program for supporting the mental health of young people.

National eTherapy Centre.Therapy Unit, Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn 3122, Australia.
Health Education Research (Impact Factor: 1.66). 02/2010; 25(4):563-74. DOI: 10.1093/her/cyq002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The objective of this study was to conduct an evaluation of Reach Out Central (ROC), an online gaming program designed to support the mental health of people aged 16-25. The evaluation sought to determine the benefit of playing ROC on alcohol use, use of coping strategies, psychological distress, resilience and satisfaction with life. Changes in mental health literacy, mental health stigma and willingness to seek help and program satisfaction were also investigated. A single group (N = 266) quasi-experimental repeated measures (pre-, post-program, 2-month follow-up) design was employed. The results demonstrated positive improvements across all outcome measures for females; however, a non-significant worsening effect was observed for males on seeking support, avoidance and resilience. Improvements for both genders were observed on mental health literacy and help-seeking. However, literacy levels and help-seeking were significantly higher, and stigma significantly lower for females. Program satisfaction ratings were high irrespective of gender. Although some inconsistencies between genders were noted, ROC appears to enhance protective factors for the prevention or early intervention of mental health disorders. The results of this study need to be viewed with its limitations in mind, specifically, the use of an open trial methodology and the small number of male participants.

Download full-text


Available from: Kerrie Shandley, Jul 01, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background:Depression and problematic substance use represent two of the major social and health problems facing young people internationally. Frequently, these conditions co-occur and this co-occurrence is associated with greater functional impact, poorer treatment outcomes, and increased costs to both society and the individual. Objective:This review aims to identify peer-reviewed published trials of interventions for co-occurring substance use and depression delivered to young people, describe these interventions, and critique the methodological quality of the studies. Method: Eleven electronic databases were searched. The reference lists of relevant review papers were searched manually for additional studies not identified by the electronic database search. Results: Initially, 1,976 studies were identified, of which 22 were classified as trial studies of youth-based treatment interventions for co-occurring substance use and depression. Ten of these studies met criteria for review. The majority (60%) utilized a pharmacotherapy component, but found it to be generally no better than placebo when both groups received adjunct counselling. Methodological quality of studies varied. Conclusions:There is a dearth of trials of interventions for co-occurring depression and substance use disorders in young people. The limited data available is promising regarding the overall effectiveness of a psychological counselling approach.Given the importance of early intervention, and the difficulties faced when engaging youth in treatment, there is a need for further focused effort amongst this group. This may require more innovative techniques in intervention design and implementation. Recent advances in Internet- and mobile phone-based therapies present apotential avenue for further research.
    Current Drug Abuse Reviews 10/2014; DOI:10.2174/1874473707666141015220608
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A seven-module computerized cognitive behavioral therapy (CCBT) program (Rainbow SPARX) was developed for adolescents with depressive symptoms who are also sexually attracted to the same sex, both sexes, or who are questioning their sexuality (i.e., sexual minority youth). In this paper a rationale for the use of CCBT amongst sexual minority youth with depression and a brief overview of the intervention are provided. Acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary data on Rainbow SPARX’s effectiveness, based on a pilot feasibility trial, are provided. Twenty-one sexual minority youth (male 52.4%) aged 13–19 years old with significant depressive symptomatology were enrolled in the study. Almost all the participants (n = 19, 90.5%) completed at least four out of seven modules of Rainbow SPARX and the program received favorable usefulness and likeability ratings. Depressive symptoms decreased significantly post-intervention (p < 0.0001, pre- to post-effect size d = 1.01) and this was maintained at 3-month follow-up. Rainbow SPARX is an acceptable, feasible, and promising intervention, which can be offered as a self-help resource that can be used in privacy and without stigma or can be used as an adjunct to face-to-face therapy.
    Cognitive and Behavioral Practice 04/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.cbpra.2013.12.008 · 1.33 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The need to provide effective mental health treatments for adolescents has been described as a global public health challenge [27]. In this paper we discuss the exploratory evaluations of the first adolescent intervention to fully integrate a computer game implementing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Three distinct studies are presented: a detailed evaluation in which therapists independent of the design team used the game with 6 adolescents experiencing clinical anxiety disorders; a study in which a member of the design team used the game with 15 adolescents; and finally a study assessing the acceptability of the game and intervention with 216 practicing therapists. Findings are presented within the context of a framework for the design and evaluation of complex health interventions. The paper provides an in-depth insight into the use of therapeutic games to support adolescent interventions and provides stronger evidence than previously available for both their effectiveness and acceptability to stakeholders.
    Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2011, Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 7-12, 2011; 01/2011