Mental health journeys are personal. Many embark with goals and objectives, but others are unclear about the end-result beyond achieving immediate relief from their negative feelings. Differences in motivation and drive can lead to a variety of challenges to stay on the journey.
Reasons People Discontinue Mental Health Care
People sometimes find that improving and maintaining mental health takes time and energy, and they may stop seeking care for a variety of reasons:
- Improvement in symptoms. They may believe they no longer need treatment because they’ve started to feel better.
- Lack of progress. Some people may not see the results they hoped for and get discouraged with the process, causing them to stop treatment prematurely.
- Stigma. The stigma surrounding mental illness and treatment prevents some from continuing due to embarrassment or shame.
- Lack of access. Limited public transportation, lack of providers in the area, and schedule conflicts can make continuing treatment difficult for some people.
- Mismatch with therapist or counselor. The relationship between a client and therapist impacts outcomes. If the connection is lacking, people are more likely to leave therapy.
- Doubting effectiveness. Skepticism about therapy and medication prevents some people from fully engaging in the process and staying in treatment.
Motivating People to Stay Engaged in Mental Health Care
While many of the barriers to staying engaged are complex, incorporating gamification as a motivator can be one effective tool. Some potential positive impacts of adding gamification to mental health care include:
- Increases engagement and motivation in therapy. Gamification like points, badges, and rewards can make mental health exercises more enjoyable and incentivize people to keep participating. This can lead to better adherence to treatment plans.
- Provides anonymous, low-stakes practice. Games related to emotions, behaviors, and relationships can allow people to practice skills and try out behaviors in an anonymous, low-pressure way which may increase comfort with applying them in their daily lives.
- Teaches coping skills. Games that teach deep breathing, cognitive restructuring, and other evidence-based techniques in an interactive way can help people learn critical mental health skills.
- Allows personalized treatment. Games can respond uniquely to an individual’s needs and challenges. Difficulty levels and game content can adapt to each player.
- Makes treatment more accessible. Games can provide a low barrier to entry for mental health support for those hesitant to engage in traditional therapy. The interactive format is also appealing to younger demographics.
- Offers data to providers. Game performance data can offer insights into a person’s strengths, weaknesses, engagement levels, etc. This allows providers to better tailor treatment.
- Reduces stigma around mental health. The increasing popularity and normalization of mental health games makes it feel more approachable and demonstrates that mental health is not scary or inaccessible.
Gamification can be a powerful tool to enhance the effectiveness of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The addition of game elements to CBT exercises increases engagement, motivation, and adherence. The interactive and rewarding nature of gamified CBT makes the therapy process more enjoyable and intrinsically rewarding for participants. Studies have shown that gamifying elements of CBT leads to better outcomes like increased skill acquisition, behavior change, and symptom reduction. The use of gamification can tap into an individual’s natural motivation for mastery, achievement, and competition. Intelligently integrating gamification techniques into traditional CBT can lead to better connection to therapy, willingness to practice CBT skills, and learning through repetition and positive reinforcement.
Contact Learn to Live today to learn more about how we incorporate gamification to achieve industry leading engagement rates with our digital CBT program!