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Applied Games and Emotional Health: Opportunities and Challenges

Engels from CTBH on Vimeo.

December 6, 2016

Rutger C.M.E. Engels, PhD
CEO of Trimbos Institute
Professor in Developmental Psychopathology, University Utrecht

About the Presentation: A zeitgeist has emerged in the medical and educational fields for applied games as learning tools, and the mental health field is primed for a similar revolution; however, validated games for mental health are virtually nonexistent. This talk will (1) provide an overview of the few games that have been designed to promote mental health; (2) address the current challenges and barriers in clinical practice and the game industry that limit the development as well as the large-scale implementation of games for mental health; and (3) present experimental evidence for the mental health benefits of some specific games.

About the Presenter: Rutger Engels is distinguished professor in Developmental Psychopathology at Utrecht University and CEO of the Trimbos Institute; the national institute for mental health and addiction. His fundamental and applied research focuses on early stages of substance use, depression and anxiety in children and adolescents. In 2010, the health council of NWO awarded his team a center of excellence grant, which is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between institutions and university to improve prevention and care for anxiety and depression. In 2011, he received the Huibregtsenprijs, an annual national award, by NWO and Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW) for outstanding research with evident societal impact. Together with Isabel Granic and Adam Lobel, he recently published a review of the mental health benefits of playing video games in American Psychologist. He is driven to bridge developmental science and game design to create a suite of evidence-based games that can be widely disseminated to build emotional resilience.