Jonas V. Schürmann
Jonas V. Schürmann

Marketing Director

Award Winning Toastmaster

Public Speaker

Streamer

Citizen of the World

Jonas V. Schürmann

Marketing Director

Award Winning Toastmaster

Public Speaker

Streamer

Citizen of the World

Blog Post

Fighting ADHD & Depression with GAMES?!

7th July 2017 General

Yes, you read right. I’m going to write something about fighting ADHD & Depression through playing games. As you maybe already read in my Newspaper and the relating article on the Parent Herald, there is a company called “Akili Interactive” that wants to create a game which is currently running under the name “Project EVO”.


 

Why am I telling you this?

About a year ago, I was working as a Co-Founder & CFO with a small indie studio called “The Pickle Bakery” which now goes by the name “Quokka Games“. The purpose of The Pickle Bakery was to develop a game called “Epic Life” to actively fight depression and other mental health issues through entertaining and psychologically reasonable “Quests” who were supposed to be related to your real life. Back then, I really loved the idea – and I still do! – and offered my help to those friends of mine. By that time the Twitter User @isayshotgun just started the Hashtag #NotJustSad and I wrote something about that on the Pickle Bakery Tumblr.

[spoiler title=”The original post on Tumblr (GERMAN)”]
Note: I’m working on a translation as soon as I’ve found time for it, I’ll keep you posted.


#NotJustSad – Depressionen!

Derzeit gibt es auf Twitter den viel genutzten Hashtag #NotJustSad, welcher von den betroffenen einer Depression genutzt wird um zum Ausdruck zu bringen, dass sie eben nicht traurig oder schlecht gelaunt, sondern wirklich ernsthaft an einer Krankheit leiden.

Initiiert wurde das ganze von der Twitter Nutzerin “Jenna Shotgun” (@isayshotgun) welche bereits seit längerer Zeit zu ihrer Depression twittert und laut eigener Aussage bereits seit dem 16. Lebensjahr daran erkrankt ist.

Zum Hashtag schreibt die “SZ” folgendes:
“Tatsächlich ist der Titel stimmig: Eine Depression ist mehr als eine Traurigkeit. Gedrückte Stimmung, Interessenverlust und Antriebslosigkeit sind die Hauptsymptome.
Zusätzlich können Konzentrationsschwierigkeiten, mangelndes Selbstwertgefühl, Gefühle von Schuld und Wertlosigkeit, pessimistische Gedanken an die Zukunft, Schlafstörungen, verminderter Appetit, Suizidgedanken oder -handlungen auftreten. Mediziner diagnostizieren eine Depression, wenn je zwei Anzeichen aus der Gruppe der Hauptsymptome als auch der Zusatzsymptome auftreten – und wenn die Beschwerden seit mindestens zwei Wochen anhalten.”

Wir, von der PickleBakery, fühlen natürlich besonders mit den betroffenen und auch ich, Jonas (@Dr_Saeras), der diesen Artikel schreibe, weiß wovon ich spreche, wenn es um Depressionen geht.

Depressionen sind eine Volkskrankheit und schon lange nicht mehr die “Traurigkeit” als welche sie von vielen deklariert werden. Längst haben sie die Massen erreicht, unabhängig von Alter, Bildung oder Beruf! Vom Manager bis zur Putzfrau kann es jeden treffen.

Ben, Reiko und ich sind drei junge Gründer mit der Vision, wissenschaftliche Spiele mit präventiver Wirkung auf Depressionen zu produzieren und somit die Menschen glücklich zu machen! Deshalb entwickeln wir Epic Life!

Wir würden uns freuen wenn ihr uns an den Twitter Account
@PickleBakery oder mir an @Dr_Saeras schreibt und erzählt, was eure Geschichte ist. Wir interessieren uns für euch und ihr wärt uns im Kampf gegen diese Krankheit eine große Hilfe!

Macht’s gut und bleibt stark, ihr alle seid wundervoll!

Euer_e,
Jonas / Vicky

[/spoiler]

So I am telling you this cause I still believe in the idea of helping out not just children, but whole humanity, through playing games. Gamers aren’t that brutally cold killer machines the media likes to present. The German project @Gamers4Refugees is only one example that proves the media wrong. But I’m not going into bashing the media because that’s not the point of what I have to say.


What’s the problem exactly?

Well, I’m not a scientist and I’m not a psychologist either, but I’m a person who’s interested in knowing literally everything even though that task is hard to complete.
So let me explain the problem to you.

Children who’re suffering from ADHD are really having a hard time trying to behave or concentrate to a certain topic for a longer time period. Often they are called “children with extraordinary (aggressive)” behaviour because people mistake their inability to concentrate and behave with being dumb when they are, instead, just ill and suffering from a mental disease.


And what’s the big deal now?

According to a recent study by Reuters, a study involved 80 kids aged between eight and 12 and 1/2 of those kids had ADHD. After playing a scientifically engineered game especially for treating ADHD together with medicine, the kids showed improvements in memory and levels of attention which is really a good thing.

So if it works for kids, why shouldn’t it work for adults, too?

I did a bit of research on Akili Interactive or “Akili Labs” and read a few relating articles. Humans can use only 10% of their brain and it’s still faster than any computer a normal person could buy with money. We’re able to make decisions so quick that we don’t even register that there was a decision. Children with ADHD also have a fast working brain, that’s not the problem. The problem is, that the brain of a kid which ADHD – as far as I understand it – works on decisions much faster than our brain and through switching from topic to topic it keeps itself busy.

A game like Project EVO which is designed to require the player to react with remarkable fast decision finding while, at the same time, blocking out distractions to focus completely on the InGame quest.


I still don’t get what you want.

What I want? I want this to happen!
As I said above: If you’re able to do it with kids, then why shouldn’t you be able to do it with adults, too? There are so many people out in the world who’d actually improve their life through gaming. And that’s what I wanted to say is all about.

If you’re able to create a game with an outstanding unique experience on a scientifically reasonable logic to help treating this issues, then you’re also able to create a game which is able to help prevent the issues completely. And that’s not only working with ADHD. As I said, my friends are able to prove that you can prevent depression, Project EVO treats ADHD, so what’s next?

I think we’re past the point where games were only for your entertainment. They, of course, are still – and shall still be! – part of our daily entertainment but they can be so much more.

I’m thrilled on what’s going to happen in the next years and I wish all the best of luck to everyone out there who’s working on projects regarding this issues.


Take care!
Val

Write a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.