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


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.

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Available from: Kerrie Shandley
    • "Qualitative anecdotal evidence supports the idea that serious games can be useful in motivating patients for behavioral change (e.g. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]). In contrast, quantitative evidence on games' behavioral change effects, is scarce [12- 14] relative to the number of studies performed. "

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    • "If personal income was a barrier in service utilization, it is not a barrier for Internet use [51]. Additionally, we did not find the gender barrier to online services reported elsewhere [12,24,25,28,50,53]. It is the first time that a study examined the relative role of childhood negative events as a predisposing factor for e-mental health care. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The Internet is widely used by young people and could serve to improve insufficient access to mental health care. Previous information on this topic comes from selected samples (students or self-selected individuals) and is incomplete. Objective: In a community sample of young adults, we aimed to describe frequency of e-mental health care study-Associated factors and to determine if e-mental health care was associated with the use of conventional services for mental health care. Methods: Using data from the 2011 wave of the TEMPO cohort study of French young adults (N=1214, aged 18-37 years), we examined e-mental health care and associated factors following Andersen's behavioral model: predisposing factors (age, sex, educational attainment, professional activity, living with a partner, children, childhood negative events, chronic somatic disease, parental history of depression), enabling factors (social support, financial difficulties, parents' income), and needs-related factors (lifetime major depression or anxiety disorders, suicidal ideation, ADHD, cannabis use). We compared traditional service use (seeking help from a general practitioner, a psychiatrist, a psychologist∗antidepressant or anxiolytics/hypnotics use) between participants who used e-mental health care versus those who did not. Results: Overall, 8.65% (105/1214) of participants reported seeking e-mental health care in case of psychological difficulties in the preceding 12 months and 15.7% (104/664) reported psychological difficulties. Controlling for all covariates, the likelihood of e-mental health care was positively associated with 2 needs-related factors, lifetime major depression or anxiety disorder (OR 2.36, 95% CI 1.36-4.09) and lifetime suicidal ideation (OR 1.91, 95% CI 1.40-2.60), and negatively associated with a predisposing factor: childhood life events (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.38-0.93). E-mental health care did not hinder traditional care, but was associated with face-to-face psychotherapy (66.2%, 51/77 vs 52.4%, 186/355, P=.03). Conclusions: E-mental health care represents an important form of help-seeking behavior for young adults. Professionals and policy makers should take note of this and aim to improve the quality of online information on mental health care and to use this fact in clinical care.
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    • "No data reported; discussion states that CBCL indicated improvement while YSR symptom scores were less conclusive Discussion states gNats Island had a positive impact on participants Shandley et al, 2010 ReachOutCentral Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10) K10: Report only a significant gender effect (F(1,264)=11.89, p=0.00) with females having a higher levels of distress than males. "
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