UK child health start-up and games studio Brightlobe has launched a new mobile game to help children manage their mental health.
The new title, Kai's Sanctuary, offers a range of exercises in the form of games to help children control and connect with their emotions. This year, the world was hit with the coronavirus pandemic, which resulted in various lockdowns.
Brightlobe's first-ever title has been designed to help children overcome the mental health implications that came with the pandemic, such as anxiety and loneliness.
Furthermore, the game was fully funded by the UK government, via the country's innovation agency, Innovate UK. Kai's Sanctuary is entirely free-to-play and is available for both iOS and Android devices.
"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.
"Kai's Sanctuary will evolve over time, with new content updates. This beta rollout for Kai's Sanctuary will see Brightlobe actively engage with its capped launch audience to ensure future iterations are fully optimised before a global rollout. We'll also be supporting Kai's Sanctuary with Brightlobe Village, an interactive community during Q4, which will help the Brightlobe team to improve the release based on community feedback."
A safe place
Through the use of cognitive behavioural therapy, activities include yoga, deep breathing exercises and digital emotional assessment activities. Moreover, an Augmented Reality feature will soon be added.
"Over 80 per cent of children with mental health difficulties said that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health. Children are feeling increasingly lonely and anxious, with a third unable to access the support they need," said Child, Adolescent and Family Psychotherapist Jane O'Rourke
"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.
"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."