Trend: Harnessing digital tech to improve mental health and wellness

From mind­ful­ness apps to vir­tu­al ther­a­py ses­sions, dig­i­tal tools offer instant access to well­ness resources (The Globe and Mail):

In 2015, Brie Code was work­ing at lead­ing video game com­pa­ny Ubisoft as lead arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence pro­gram­mer when she real­ized that many peo­ple she knew – about half, by her esti­ma­tion – found video games boring.

… Code left Ubisoft to devel­op exact­ly that type of game. Her AI com­pa­ny, Tru Luv, launched its first prod­uct, a game appro­pri­ate­ly titled #Self­Care, in 2018. Designed with the help of Dutch aca­d­e­m­ic Isabela Granic, a pro­fes­sor at the Behav­iour­al Sci­ence Insti­tute (BSI) at Rad­boud Uni­ver­si­ty in the Nether­lands and direc­tor of the Games for Emo­tion­al and Men­tal Health Lab, the game is cen­tred around an avatar who stays in bed for the day and aims to relax play­ers by using sooth­ing music, mut­ed colours and self-care prac­tices. Think med­i­ta­tive tasks such as word games and guid­ed breath­ing exer­cis­es. There’s no way to win, com­pete or binge – in fact, it delib­er­ate­ly starts to feel bor­ing after a few min­utes of play, which dis­in­cen­tivizes mind­less scrolling.

#Self­Care was an instant hit, gar­ner­ing half a mil­lion down­loads in its first six weeks with­out any adver­tis­ing … Games like #Self­Care are part of a grow­ing wave of dig­i­tal well­ness tools, which also include pop­u­lar apps such as Head­space and Calm, for guid­ed med­i­ta­tion; Som­ryst, an FDA-approved “pre­scrip­tion-only dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic” that uses cog­ni­tive behav­iour­al ther­a­py to soothe chron­ic insom­nia; Clue, a peri­od-track­ing app; and Hydro Coach, which tracks water consumption.

Accord­ing to an April, 2021, McK­in­sey & Com­pa­ny report, the glob­al well­ness mar­ket is val­ued at US$1.5 tril­lion. The Glob­al Well­ness Insti­tute says a large frac­tion of that val­ue is in “men­tal well­ness” ser­vices and prod­ucts – a cat­e­go­ry it defines as includ­ing “sens­es, spaces and sleep; brain-boost­ing nutraceu­ti­cals and botan­i­cals; self-improve­ment, med­i­ta­tion and mind­ful­ness.” And increas­ing­ly, the tech sec­tor is find­ing footholds in this market.

About the Mental Wellness category and report:

Descrip­tion: The Glob­al Well­ness Institute’s ground­break­ing report, “Defin­ing the Men­tal Well­ness Econ­o­my,” focus­es on the busi­ness of men­tal wellness—and explores the pro­grams and prod­ucts that are dri­ving the men­tal well­ness econ­o­my in four sub-sec­tors of this $121 bil­lion glob­al market.

  1. Sens­es, Spaces & Sleep
  2. Brain-Boost­ing Nutraceu­ti­cals & Botanicals
  3. Self-Improve­ment
  4. Med­i­ta­tion & Mindfulness

News in Context:

About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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