- Proactive healthcare on game addiction:
(1) Increase awareness and understanding of the public and offer a universal access for everyone
The nature of game addiction is complicated and involves biological, psychological as well as social factors. Apparently, the speed of invasiveness of game addition surpasses the capacity of conventional mental health services. The solution offers a comprehensive, proactive and innovative approach to reduce this gap. We have attempted to find a means to deliver mental health services to gamers and their parents who are often ignored or have difficulty getting access to traditional services in time.
Department of Psychiatry, the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, has initiated innovative healthcare services which entirely take care, treat, and prevent youths from game addiction via the Internet (HealthyGamer.net) that is easily accessible for everyone. Parents, teachers, and those who seek for appropriate gamer care would find this online platform valuable as a one-stop service for game addiction which contains various information. Moreover, its education and edutainment styles help people to easily understand game addiction care and become closer to the network of mental health services, resulting in better understanding and healthy and warm social support.
(2) Pervade “Balanced gaming … Balanced life”
Research indicates that minimization of the chance of playing games, maximization of the responsibility and self-control of the child, setting up time limitations for playing games, spending quality time having family activities with children, and encouraging them to have alternative activities, are all important and effective strategies to reduce the game addiction problem. Our creative and positive concept of “Balanced Gaming…Balanced Life” can be distributed to the society as fast as possible, through all channels including the Internet. The website is a platform that brings all stakeholders together, including parents, youths, care seekers, educators, and service providers.
(3) Offer screening tests online and increase efficiency of mental health service delivery
The research-based Game Addiction Screening Test (GAME-S) is the first-time available online self-evaluated questionnaire for the public free of charge. This new online platform is very comfortable for users to be able to access from anywhere and at anytime. Since HealthyGamer.net started its operation, many more users have accessed the website and completed the screening tests than those who have come to the Child Psychiatry Clinic. 7,156 users accessed the website and had a screening service within one year (4 May 2010 – 4 May 2011), while only 70 people came to the Clinic during the same period of time. The figure demonstrates that “customers” are more interested in this new service delivery which is consistent with the parents’ attitude and their inclination not to take children to see a psychiatrist. Our psychiatrists are able to treat more than one patient at a time since a lot of users can now find existing answers through the designated online forum, i.e. knowledge sharing. Furthermore, users are not required to identify themselves, which makes them anonymous and helps them keep their confidentiality. These are unique characteristics of this new online service.