Health Promotion Game
Depression diagnosed mainly among youths and children has facilitated this game (Gabe, 2004). The game applies to teenagers and young adults in schools and the classroom setting or as part of fun games that involve technologically advanced mechanisms specifically the computer (Swanton, Collin, Burns & Sorensen, 2007).
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The game is titled “Winning depression” by winning points that are gauged on a scorecard out of 100 points. The game aims to increase the awareness of adolescents and young adults on depression as a mental illness and encourage early diagnosis. The game is designed to be played on the computer with answering of the questions by clicking on the chosen option of which correct answers which earn points. It involves three levels, one to three in increasing difficulty (Collin, 2008).
Instructions of the Game
- This game is played by one person on a single computer and when played in a group, it involves interconnected computers for tallying purposes and a similar starting time.
- The participants have to be computer literate.
- The game begins with the authentication of the name of the player to gain access to play and is a total of 3 levels which involves answering questions by clicking on the right answer as fast as possible to earn points for each correct answer.
- At the end of the game, the tallying of the results reveals the winner with the highest mark who answers the highest number of correct questions within the shortest time.
- The score value is cumulative with six scores for each question, 9 additional points for each level successfully done correctly, and a bonus point for answering within 7 minutes.
Level 1: The player arranges eight mixed cards that represent negative and positive emotions into two groups of four cards each representing the related emotions by moving them using the mouse then answering the questions.
- Depression is just a bad mood and not a mental illness.
- Depression is a generic condition.
- Which is the best way of reacting when angry;
- Shout at someone that hurts you at the mall
- Refuse to talk to anybody at home
- Engage in an activity such as running or a sport you love
- Which statement best describes your perception of your friends undergoing depression?
- Avoid their company
- Am afraid of them
- Support them through talking and playing with them
Level 2 involves identifying the signs of depression which correctly earns points. The questions are:
- Which is the greatest age category with high risks of depression diagnosis?
- 0 to 10 Years
- 11 to 25 Years
- Over 25 Years
- Young children do not experience depression; it is just part of growing up.
- How can you recognize a depressed person?
- Looking at their appearance
- Incase somebody in their family is also depressed
- Through the diagnosis results
- Is it possible for depression to be reduced through the use of drugs, alcohol and other self medication?
Level 3 the advanced level involves trying to protect John represented by a white pictorial from having a suicidal mood by correctly avoiding the red animations, which are named and represent the risk factors. Once the player is able to help John escape the risks chasing him, he earns points but if he fails, John risks losing his life and the player loosing the game. The game has questions which are:
- What is the way of handling people that have undergone depression?
- Avoid them completely
- Show love and support
- Talk about their condition to other friends
- The people who have undergone depression are likely to experience relapses?
- Depression is transmittable from one person to another.
- Is moderate alcohol and drug use recommendable in depression?
Health Promotion Written Section
Reasons why depression is a government health priority
Depression is perceived by many as a mental condition or feeling that is expected to cease with time. The lack of awareness as a mental illness requires more emphasis on the same to the public to increase their awareness and knowledge on depression. This ignorance and lack of awareness contrast the fact that it has been associated with other physical conditions and disabilities among the population which require more concern by the government (World Health Organization, 2008).
While the government perceives young people as the future of society, research shows that the mental health problem of depression is highest among young people; many of whom do not seek professional help while the prevalence is highest in childhood and early adulthood below 25 years (McGorry, Hickie, Yung, Pantelis & Jackson, 2006). Depression is responsible for the increase in self-medication among young people in drug abuse and alcoholism and decreased social, physical, and vocational participation.
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The increase in mental problems of depression is awakening as statistics show that by 2020, depression may be the leading cause of death and physical disability (Lopez, Mathers, Ezzati, Jamison & Murray, 2006). This is likely to affect the labor force, economic growth, and cost of health. Additionally, the treatment of depression is very expensive and there is usually the risk of relapses which guarantee more treatment (Bennet, Towns, Eliot & Merrick, 2008).
This huge cost affects the families of the individuals the society economically and socially. The treatment gap between the prevalence rates of depression and the number of people receiving treatment is very high and is encouraged by the limited access to treatment. Depression is also associated with stigma from society thus limiting the willingness of people to undergo early diagnosis for easier treatment which can be addressed by the government making it a top priority (Burns, Ellis, Mackenzie, & Nicholas, 2009).
Considering the determinants of health in depression
Young people are faced with various issues in their stage of life that affect how they react to these circumstances. The determinants of depression are mainly of a social, psychological, and economic nature (Keheler, MacDougall & Murphy, 2007). Adolescence poses as a determinant of mental health through how young people perceive it, the perceptions of their peers, and family support. Younger adults who are past adolescence are faced with vital decisions to make in life such as careers, relationships, and employment which determine their depression.
Age is also a determinant of depression where the younger youths such as teenagers are not able to deal with some emotions and circumstances bound to create stress as compared to the older youths. Gender acts as a determinant of mental health in social perceptions and expectations of gender and gender roles. Additionally, this is influenced by past events such as sexual violence for girls raising their depression (Durkin, Burns & Stephen-Reicher, 2008).
Young people are faced with peer pressure which mainly includes personal identity and acceptance by their peers. The economic determinants of depression are based on living conditions and family income. Young people from poorer backgrounds tend to experience depression more than those from richer backgrounds due to their lack of treatment for stress-related issues and their perceptions towards poverty. The other determinants of depression include the pressures from school and educational expectations, employment, and parental support. The past events determine the level of depression for both girls and boys where those with backgrounds of violence and trauma withdrawn and can easily become depressed (Burns et al., 2009)
Primary, secondary, and tertiary health promotion about depression
The primary level in health promotion of mental health is based on engaging in activities aimed at preventing depression through increased awareness (Durkin et al., 2008). This is demonstrated in the first level of the game representing questions aimed at enabling young people to rank depression as a mental illness. They are involved in classifying emotions then identifying those associated with depression to help them deal with emotions likely to lead to depression.
The secondary level of mental health promotion is concerned with encouraging early detection of depression to make treatment easier and manageable (Burns & Rapee, 2006). In the game, it is demonstrated in level 2 where the young people are required to identify the symptoms associated with depression, lowering the stigma associated with it, evaluate the myths surrounding depression, and encourage early diagnosis.
The tertiary level in mental health promotion deals with reducing the chances for reoccurrences of the problem by addressing the risk factors. This is represented in the third level of the game through the avoidance of suicide thoughts in John while tackling the questions to do with handling people with depression, reducing stigma, the probability of relapse, and encouragement of stress and negative emotions avoidance (Burns et al., 2009).
Purpose and Application of the Health Promotion Game
The health promotion game discussed is titled “winning depression” with the objectives of increasing the awareness of mental health among teenagers and young people, encouraging early diagnosis of depression, increasing the knowledge of prevention, promoting quality of life through improved mental health, and reducing the stigma associated with the depression among young people to be fulfilled in a fun-filled way (Keheler et al., 2007).
The game addresses the mental health problem of depression due to the high prevalence especially among young people, the increased stigma associated with it, high costs of treatment, and limited access to the treatment at the secondary and tertiary levels. It is designed and suited to be played by teenagers and young adults both individually and in a group context with discussions following in the course of the game.
The game can be successfully applied by a health worker in health promotion in schools when invited for talks on mental health, youth forums, and programs, freely distributed to young people and parents in various social contexts and during community social work (Stein-Parbury, 2005). The game is meant to attract young people with the use of technology they are familiar with and spend time in, contemporary music, animations that suit their age, and short questions on mental health. The health nurse can use the game as part of the training tool for young people by demonstrating how to play and allowing them to play, as reinforcement in social development programs (Stein-Parbury, 2007).
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Collin, P. (2008). The Internet, Youth Participation Policies and the Development of Young People’s Political Identities in Australia. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(5), 527-542.
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