Mental health: the game

My wife Alice's latest game commission for Channel 4 UK just went live: SuperMe is a series of mini-games and activities around the theme of mental health and resilience for teens, a game that lets you level up so you're "better at life." The work was done by our neighbors in London, Somethin Else and Preloaded. As Alice sez, "It's about resilience: how to feel good when life chucks you lemons. How to be better at thinking positively. How to cope with (and learn to love) failure. I'm really pleased with this, because I think it's ultra key for our target audience of 14+ teens."



  1. I hope the site can help really train people to improve their lives and yield real happiness from it.

    I worry that so many horrible people already come across deceptively well.

  2. I went to that website hoping to be cheered up but I found a lot of the videos depressing, especially the one where the scientist shoots himself in the head. And also the one where the tarot card reader takes the bankrupt guy’s last $30. :(

  3. Sorry for the comparison, but I can’t help but think of some of the Japanese dating sims. Different genres, but both offer a way to explore emotions in a less stressful and more entertaining way. Similar target age group too.

  4. I’ve worked on a mental health resource Web application before, and I think that this site suffers from some of the same problems that that one did (although the one I worked on had numerous problems, mostly stemming from a politically-driven client) – namely, it is assuming a certain world-view, and it is using language that will make people with certain disorders feel worse. For example, there is a statistic about how ‘optimistic people live longer.’ This IMMEDIATELY shames a person who may have pessimistic views (whether it’s part of a problem they have, or just their general personality). Striving for mono-culture where people are made to feel ‘other’ and non-accepted is NOT promoting mental health; it is contributing to making people feel more ashamed of themselves for not being ‘like everyone else.’ It’s like telling someone suffering from depression to ‘snap out of it and cheer up.’ I applaud the desire to create mental health resources, but if I was a teen, this site would only make me feel alienated and depressed.

  5. Sorry to hijack the comments, but can someone tell me what kind of accent does the girl with the dark hair and green sofa (one of the speakers, not one of the “bystanders”) have?

    Thanks :D

    1. It’s hard to place the dark-haired psychologist’s (Emma Kenny’s) accent. It’s pretty generic middle class.
      There’s a hint of something regional. I’d put it as anywhere in the midlands or north-west. Maybe Manchester.

  6. My pre-teen son is terribly pessimistic and usually finds the downside to everything. I try to point out the good side to everything and ask him to try finding “the glass half full” when he can.

    I worry that in a couple of years when he hits the more difficult teen years this habit/outlook of his will make it difficult for him to deal with adversity.

    I am hopeful this site has some things that may help him. I am wary of some of the other comments that it may alienate someone with a naturally pessimistic view.

  7. Pessimist: The glass is half empty.

    Optimist: The glass is half full.

    Realist: Some a-hole left a half-full glass out and I’m going to have to wash it.

  8. I have a 14yo daughter with Asperger’s. After reviewing the site, I sent her to it. She is HYPERCRITICAL of herself. The information given on the site seems to be helping her understand her emotions and how to deal.

    The site does NOT promote a happy feel good all the time clone. It does advocate a balanced feelings. In one clip they say while sometimes euphoric happiness happens, we’re mostly in the middle and thats OK.

    They promote socialization, writing feelings, physical fitness to encourage happiness.

    It may not help everyone, but it gave my daughter a LOT of encouragement. Parents should take a look through the site, read a bit and decide if it will be helpful for their teen.

    Besides anyone who used Monty Python to illustrate points can’t been wrong

  9. The entire presentation reminds me of those old 50s and 60s educational films (“Look at Johnny, he’s having problems with shyness!”)

    Maybe some research has been done, but I would think depressed kids are looking for much more interesting ways to enjoy their lives. I thought this sort of self-help stuff died off in the late 1980s. Plus the question layout is a bit clumsy

  10. Been checking out the site; it looks interesting, and I will probably share it with my 15yo Aspie daughter after I review a little more of the video. It may offer her a few positive thinking tips, which she could sorely use.

    However, I tried a couple of the minigames, and I don’t know how much of a sense of achievement they’ll generate. They’re a little tough and slow, without offering much incentive to continue. If they’re meant to be rewarding in themselves, I think they should be more fun, and if the point is really to collect achievements or information, then that payoff should come sooner so you stay motivated.

    I thought it was a bit unfortunate that when you hit an obstacle in the Flomo game, it immediately reads “FAIL.” While there’s the option to continue, I wasn’t motivated to, as the game itself wasn’t especially rewarding and I felt pretty inept for failing early. Thus I’m not sure how it builds resilience or a positive outlook. Hey depressed kid, you FAIL!

  11. Back when I was kid life was rough. These kids today have it all, and they have time to worry about all these thing we never even thought about.

    We where never insucure, we where tired from woring all morning on the farm, going to school, comming home to do afternoon chores and hurry to the fishing hole to get in some time with the chums.

    Now I belive it was a better time, so lucky me. We didn’t have to think about all the garbage in the minds of the youth today.

    Of course if I was a kid today i would just play Driving games all day. I would be over weight and anti social. But I would have my every need satisfied at every moment and that has a type of value in its own.

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