Technology and Mental Health

Technology and Mental Health

Madeline Marks (University of Central Florida, USA) and Clint Bowers (University of Central Florida, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch634
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Background

Mental health professionals provide services for diverse disorders such as stress and anxiety, which includes post-traumatic stress disorder and phobias, and addiction-based disorders of alcoholism, substance abuse, and gambling. A task force on mental health sponsored by the Department of Defense in June 2007 concluded that the mental health care system of the U.S. military is currently unable to meet the mental health needs of its service members. The task force concluded that military health system lacks the resources and fully trained staff to meet the mental health care needs for troops and their families.

Technology designed specifically for health has proved useful as a complementary form of providing mental health services. Serious games, mobile device applications, and simulations have been recognized for their persuasiveness via their ability to deliver engaging empathy-infused content, a key component for mental health services (Andrews, Joyce, & Bowers, 2010, Reid et al., 2012). In addition, serious games are able to extend the accessibility of services and treatment programs, which is not only beneficial for those seeking services, but also for those providing services (Fernández-Aranda et al., 2012; Kocsis et al., 2009). More specifically, serious games for mental health can be a cost-effective method for delivering services. The patient potentially benefits through increased access, reduced stigma associated with seeking mental health services, increased education about the behavioral nature of their problems, and improved data processing during initial patient evaluations. The provider potentially benefits by enhanced dissemination of clinically validated practices to a wide range of audiences (Andrews et al., 2010; Blumberg, Almonte, Anthony, & Hashimoto, 2012; Burns, Durkin, & Nicholas, 2009; Brekinka, 2012; Fernández-Aranda et al., 2012; McDonald, 2010; Shegog, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Modding: The process of modifying or altering the original program code of a video game to create cutom levels, objects, characters, and/or a unique new game not part of the original game.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual: Consists of diagnostic classification, diagnostic criteria sets, and descriptive text of mental disorders.

Serious Games: Games developed for purposes other than mere entertainment.

Minigame: A small game embedded within the larger game.

Mental Disorder: The constellation of symptoms that causes significant distress and/or impairment in daily functioning.

Machinima: A combination of the words machine and cinema, which refers to the art of creating cinematic production from real-time computer graphics.

Serious Mental Illness: Significantly impairs daily functioning and symptoms exceed the intensity and duration of symptoms observed in majority of clinical population.

Mental Health: A state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being, not just the absence of mental disorder.

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