UK government backs mobile video game Kai’s Sanctuary designed to help children improve their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

  • The game was developed by London-based child health start-up Brightlobe
  • It was fully funded by Innovate UK and is completely free to download and play
  • Players engage in cognitive behavioural therapy including breathing exercises
  • ‘Kai’s Sanctuary’ is available now for iPad and for Android devices in November

A mobile video game designed to help children improve their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic has been released following government backing.

‘Kai’s Sanctuary’ comes from London-based child health start-up Brightlobe, and was funded — to the tune of £46,064 — by governmental innovation agency Innovate UK.

In the game, players meet protagonist Kai, a healer who works in a futuristic sanctuary for sick or injured ‘guardians’, animals that are the protectors of children. 

Players engage in gamified cognitive behavioural therapy to help them manage their emotions — from deep breathing exercises to yoga with a ‘guru sloth’.

The game for kids aged 4+ — available now for the iPad, and for Android early next month — is free to download and contains no in-app purchases. 

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A mobile video game, pictured, designed to help children improve their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic has been released following government backing

A mobile video game, pictured, designed to help children improve their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic has been released following government backing

‘Over 80 per cent of children with mental health difficulties said that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health,’ commented child, adolescent and family psychotherapist Jane O’Rourke.

‘Children are feeling increasingly lonely and anxious, with a third unable to access the support they need,’ she added.

‘With Kai’s Sanctuary’s app exercises, children can build a sense of self-agency so they feel more in control of their anxiety.’

‘Kai’s Sanctuary’s endearing characters encourage children to slow down with exercises like deep breathing,’ Dr O’Rourke added.

‘Slowing down calms the nervous system and increases children’s capacity for self-reflection, so they can begin to identify their emotional states — and begin to understand the minds and feelings of others.’

‘Brightlobe is giving children in the UK a tool they can take with them for the rest of their lives, whenever they need to steady, calm and self-reflect.’

'Kai's Sanctuary' was developed by London-based child health start-up Brightlobe, and was fully funded by governmental innovation agency Innovate UK

‘Kai’s Sanctuary’ was developed by London-based child health start-up Brightlobe, and was fully funded by governmental innovation agency Innovate UK

Players engage in gamified cognitive behavioural therapy to help them manage their emotions — from deep breathing exercises to yoga with a 'guru sloth', pictured

Players engage in gamified cognitive behavioural therapy to help them manage their emotions — from deep breathing exercises to yoga with a ‘guru sloth’, pictured

‘Prior to the first coronavirus lockdown in March, Brightlobe was piloting our game-based developmental assessment platform, which is due for release in 2021,’ said Brightlobe CEO and founder Shivani Lamba.

‘Early data showed that children’s mental health was worsening, so we proposed a game-based solution to address this crisis.’

‘We thank Innovate UK for believing in the strength of our project, as our game is based firmly within published clinical research on the efficacy of mindfulness CBT.’

According to Brightlobe, the game will evolve over time and receive new content updates — including a series of augmented reality adventures — and improvements based on user community feedback.

Kai’s Sanctuary for the iPad can be downloaded from the iOS App Store. 

'Over 80 per cent of children with mental health difficulties said that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health,' commented child, adolescent and family psychotherapist Jane O’Rourke. 'Children are feeling increasingly lonely and anxious, with a third unable to access the support they need,' she added. 'With Kai’s Sanctuary's app exercises, children can build a sense of self-agency so they feel more in control of their anxiety'

‘Over 80 per cent of children with mental health difficulties said that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health,’ commented child, adolescent and family psychotherapist Jane O’Rourke. ‘Children are feeling increasingly lonely and anxious, with a third unable to access the support they need,’ she added. ‘With Kai’s Sanctuary’s app exercises, children can build a sense of self-agency so they feel more in control of their anxiety’

In the game, players meet protagonist Kai, pictured, a healer who works in a futuristic sanctuary for sick or injured 'guardians', animals that are the protectors of children

In the game, players meet protagonist Kai, pictured, a healer who works in a futuristic sanctuary for sick or injured ‘guardians’, animals that are the protectors of children

According to Brightlobe, the game will evolve over time and receive new content updates — including augmented reality adventures — and improvements based on user feedback

According to Brightlobe, the game will evolve over time and receive new content updates — including augmented reality adventures — and improvements based on user feedback

source: dailymail.co.uk

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