UNESCO Award Winner 2013

Each year, UNESCO’s Netexplo selects the top 10 digital innovations from around the world. In 2013, Netexplo selected SPARX as one of the top 10 digital innovations.

Netexplo recognized SPARX, and the other nine global winners, as “the ten most innovative and promising digital initiatives of the year.” SPARX received its Netexplo Award during the February, 2013 Netexplo Forum in Paris attended by 1300 people from 30 countries.

For more on the Netexplo award: http://en.www.netexplo.org/laureat/sparx

Need for New Treatments for Depression and Anxiety

Untreated depression and anxiety are among the largest unmet public health challenges in the United States. In May 2013, the Centers for Disease Control issued its first comprehensive report on the prevalence and costs of depression and other behavioral health conditions among children and adolescents in the United States.

One in five children or adolescents, and approximately 30% of college students, suffer from depression, anxiety or another behavioral health condition. Of the 10 million young people affected, 8 million (80%) do not receive treatment. The CDC estimates the cost to society of these conditions at $ 250 billion per year.

Why do only one in five receive treatment? There are many barriers to treatment for young people, which include: stigma; lack of privacy; shame; inaccessibility; inconvenience; cost; lack of sufficient therapists; and, fears of drug side effects.

The Promise of SPARX to Meet This Need

The promise of SPARX, The Video Game for Depression is that it provides effective therapy as a video game – a format that young people are comfortable with. It is private – you play it online. Because it is private, it reduces the barriers of stigma and shame. SPARX is convenient – young people can play when and where they want. SPARX  is available online 24 / 7.

Importantly, SPARX is as effective as seeing a therapist, but the young person suffering from depression does not have to seek out a therapist or wait (for weeks or months) for an appointment. The cost of SPARX will be less than the cost of traditional therapy or behavioral health drugs.

SPARX was developed by a team of child and adolescent mental health professionals and therapists, research psychologists, game developers and e-learning theorists at the University of Auckland Medical School with feedback from young people. SPARX has been scientifically evaluated. The results from the studies have been peer-reviewed, presented at national and international conferences, and published in scientific journals, including the British Medical Journal. In the 2012 BMJ report, SPARX is hailed as effective, affordable & appealing to its young (ages 12-19) users.

LinkedWellness Mission Statement

Untreated behavioral health conditions are one of the largest public health challenges in the United States. Our mission is to bring the world's most effective, user-friendly and clinically-proven e-therapies to people suffering from behavioral health conditions in the United States. LinkedWellness is integrating the best scientific research, clinical practice, technology, web delivery and marketing to provide better behavioral health treatments to more people at a lower cost. The LinkedWellness founders have family members who are affected by mental illness, so they have both a professional interest and personal commitment to achieving this mission.