DeepWell and Global Game Jam will launch game jam for mental health games

DeepWell Digital Therapeutics and Global Game Jam announced a game jam to prove the power of games to positively impact mental health.

Mike Wilson, CEO of DeepWell, talk about the event on the main stage at the Game Developers Conference today and he called on game developers to join the mission.

Wilson, cofounder of Devolver Digital, started Seattle-based DeepWell to create games that have actual certification for helping to improve mental health. The game jam will run from May 1 to May 22, and it is committed to engaging and challenging the game community to use its powerful skills to create games that demonstrate how video game themes and mechanics can be utilized as treatment mechanisms.

It will also encourage games that help dispel misconceptions and social stigma related to openly discussing and addressing mental health issues. And it will encourage games that build a community that works to connect and support those suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression.

During the course of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the trendlines around worldwide mental health challenges have accelerated at a rapid pace. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) projects that one in five people in the U.S. receive a mental illness diagnosis each year and as many as one in two people will receive a diagnosis of a mental health issue in their lifetime. The real and qualitative costs of not addressing mental wellness in society are enormous with impacts including job instability, workplace stress, and online harassment.

Addressing mental health challenges by providing treatment and support is essential to creating cultures that embrace diversity, acknowledging the role of game creators and the often- untapped power of play.

Enter DeepWell DTx – a new video game publisher and developer dedicated to creating best-in-class gameplay that can simultaneously entertain and deliver, enhance, and accelerate treatment for an array of globally pervasive mental health conditions.

Guided by a team of more than 40 advisers who serve as creators, game designers, scientists, and medical professionals, DeepWell is creating a slate of DTx-enabled games that represent a new tool to confront the widespread crisis that continues to threaten healthcare systems around the world.

“The environment of a game jam is the perfect place for exploring and experimenting with new ideas and approaches to problem solving. And as the world’s largest game jam event, the Global Game Jam is thrilled to see our community create games around this critical topic,” said Kate Edwards, executive director of the GGJ, in a statement.

How to participate

The event starts on May 1 but developers can join at any time after that until May 22. You can find more info here.

All games created for the DeepWell DTx Mental Health Game Jam will be promoted on the GGJ’s itch.io page for public viewing and play. Prizes will be announced later.

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