SPARX an e-therapy game developed to help young people combat depression has won a World Summit Award winning in its category e-Health and Environment.
SPARX was developed by a team headed by Assoc Prof Sally Merry from The University of Auckland, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Health and developed by Metia Interactive Ltd from Auckland. SPARX takes the form of an animated 3D game where users learn real-life skills by solving challenges to rid a fantasy world from gloom and negativity. Culturally-relevant elements have been incorporated into the game world to ensure the programme has wide cultural acceptability.
SPARX is unique because of the gaming platform it uses to engage users and because over 180 young people have been involved in a trial to test its effectiveness. The evaluation of SPARX has shown that young people found it effective, engaging and helpful. One in four young people experience an episode of clinical depression by the age of 18, and three quarters of these young people never receive any help, this programme has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of many young people in New Zealand and internationally.
About the World Summit Award and the United Nations
The World Summit Award (WSA) is a global not-for-profit activity in the framework of the United Nations to select and promote best practice in e-Content production and creativity in innovative Internet applications.