Research suggests that over a quarter of people will suffer with a mental health problem at some point in their lives and pretty soon these people could be accessing an app rather than undergoing therapy.
The team behind social game SuperBetter claim they can now heal your mind, and with the launch of the app just around the corner, could people with mental health issues really be reaching for their smartphone to access an app, rather than call the doctor?
Re-focusing the Offer
The decision to re-nose the focus of SuperBetter and aim it at mental health coincides neatly with the aforementioned app launch, but also with the start of clinical trials designed to show how SuperBetter can strengthen mental resiliency and help users combat stress, anxiety and depression. The decision to refocus the offer was based on feedback from the 125K existing users.
SuperBetter currently offers players the chance to make a game out of life’s challenges, which include anything from housework to divorce. Players can turn these onerous tasks into games that they can overcome with the help of anonymous allies and friends. So far, the most user engagement has been with those aspects of the game that deal with stress and pain management and these areas also have the highest number of ‘epic wins’.
The American Psychological Society suggests that sharing problems with family and friends is a great way to lower stress and CEO John Solomon believes the SuperBetter app will help.
“This is a tool to help people lower stress and be happier and more productive,” said Solomon. “It’s about perspective change.”
Will Clinical Trials Support the Theory?
Solomon and his team are undoubtedly hoping the clinical trials being conducted by the University of Pennsylvania will help show SuperBetter has merit and differentiate it from similar products such as Everest and Lift. The trials will be random in nature and will only include new players who display mild depressive symptoms. The trials, which start this month, will involve around 100 participants who will be asked to engage with different types of content based on cognitive behaviour therapy and other tried and tested treatments.
In conducting rigorous clinical trials SuperBetter is clearly trying to gain credibility for a product that many will still see as just a game, but the potential for games and interactive digital content to actually change behaviours and mind frames is still untapped. The company is hoping to partner with hospitals and mental health organisations going forward as part of its distribution strategy and may even offer the app as part of an employee care package if employers can be persuaded of its merit. According to SuperBetter Labs the development of an Android app is currently under consideration.