Making exposure therapy more engaging to young people with anxiety

I’ve been particularly impressed with how Shift have embraced the research literature and taken a genuine collaborative approach, working in a systematic and thorough way. They are passionate about involving the end users throughout the process, to ensure that their products meet the needs and wants of those who will use them.

Claire Hill, Clinical Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Clinical Psychologist, University of Reading

The Problem

Anxiety affects approximately 400,000 8-12 year olds in the UK. Anxiety has a huge impact on young people’s lives, preventing them from going to school, seeing friends, and participating in ‘normal’ activities, and causing depression, self-harm, and life-long negative effects.

Yet up to 70% of young people with disordered anxiety don’t access any treatment. Referrals to child mental health services have increased 26% in the last 5 years, but waiting lists for treatment can be up to 18 months long, and 1 in 4 referrals are refused.

Solution

A mobile video game to provide early intervention support to young people aged 8-12 years with low-medium anxiety by combining exposure therapy with an immersive gaming experience.

“Thanks so much for a brilliantly inspiring day! It was great to see so many talented, energetic people, committed to supporting children with mental health problems, all in one room and totally focused on what could really be a lifesaver for some children.”

Adele, parent of a young person with anxiety and participant in co-creation workshop

So far…

  • Literature review of anxiety, CBT, exposure therapy and game design
  • Interviews and conversations with young people, parents, teachers, GPs, commissioners and therapists
  • Building a network of experts and practitioners
  • Co-creation sessions with teachers, parents, young people, therapists, children’s authors
  • Developing game narrative, mechanics and flow
  • Building a disruptive way of facilitating graded exposures
  • Developing a minimum viable product to take into pilot testing in early 2019

Research

The journey a young person with anxiety takes through clinical pathways.

June 26, 2018

40,000 aged 5-16 are affected by anxiety in England and the average waiting time for treatment is 18 months. See our infographic detailing the journey a young person with anxiety takes through clinical pathways.

Manjul Rathee

Key aspects of CBT and gamification to treat children with anxiety

April 3, 2018

A literature review and expert consultation into the key aspects of childhood anxiety, CBT and gamification.

Comment

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Do you want to get involved? We'd love to hear from you
Email me - manjul.rathee@shiftdesign.org.uk