[games_access] Research questions about games helping veterans

Ben Sawyer bsawyer at dmill.com
Sun Nov 18 05:48:30 EST 2007


There is some emerging evidence that virtual environments help
veterans with PTSD as long as it's part of a very scaffold and
supported therapy.

The more specific question might be are some of these cases (the non-
PTSD induced ones) a result of veterans who suffer pain and suffering
due to disabilities, reduced social atmosphere, etc.

PTSD is a very debilitating problem but it's well worked on by others
like Skip Rizzo, Russ Shilling, and others in the cyberpsychology realm.

In terms of drugs and alcohol while there are ideas for games that
help here they are more suited to teens, etc. then well worn
veterans. There was some work by the Marines to use a game for anti-
drug efforts in the Marines - I need to find out more about that
project and if it produced results.

The issue of whether games work or not or especially vs. other media/
processes or within them is a big part of some of the major funding
RWJF is providing to the games for health community through Health
Games Research. However, it's hard to do comparative media studies
and it's likely we might not know for sometime these differences.
It's also more likely that we parse using games vs. not based on the
goals we have and how they map well to things games are accepted as
doing quite well such as motivation and distance socialization.

Where the SIG and its members might do well in looking at veteran
issues/defense needs is in adaptation of controllers and creation of
games for people who have suffered various ambulatory injuries and
for people with rehabilitation needs from head injuries, etc. These
would obviously have crossover use to civilians suffering from the
same issues be they by birth or accidents not involving warfare.
Unfortunately it is likely the DoD has more $$ more easily available
to tackle these issues then do private civilian side sources.

- Ben



On Nov 17, 2007, at 3:58 PM, Reid Kimball wrote:


> Michelle's recent post about veterans seeking relief through games

> reminded me I saw this the other day. Truly staggering and mind

> boggling the numbers of veterans that aren't getting the help they

> need.

>

> http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/11/15/cbs-news-investigates-

> shocking-rate-of-veteran-suicides/

>

> "In 2005 alone, 125 veterans committed suicide each week and of the

> more than 88,000 vets returning from Iraq, more than 28% of them have

> experienced mental health problems."

>

> This is definitely an area we need to research, how much can games

> really help depressed veterans? Will it help them? Will it be abused

> like drugs and alcohol? Is it THE solution or is it best to include

> gaming as part of a larger therapy?

>

> -Reid

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