Looks like we weren't the only ones who though it was a great idea. Inspire has sent word that it has jointly won first place in Changemakers.net's "Why Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Care" comp. According to the release, Reach Out Central beat out 73 (well 71) other entries for the pole position.
Also in the first place spot with Inspire was a mobile phone game from India designed to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, and a Canadian game covering women and violence.
Full release after the jump.
Sydney, 9 November 2007: Inspire Foundation has jointly won the international â€œWhy Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Careâ€ competition for the online mental health skill-building game Reach Out Central (www.reachoutcentral.com.au).
Run by Changemakers.net in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in the United States, Inspireâ€™s Reach Out Central was one of 74 entries from across the globe in the competition.
The goal of the â€œWhy Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Careâ€ competition was to identify computer and video games that are able to transform health and health care and entries were judged on innovation, social impact and sustainability. Fourteen finalists were put forward from the expert judging panel and the winner was decided by public voting through the Changemakers.net website.
Launched in September 2007, Reach Out Central was developed in consultation with psychologists, young people and gaming experts and uses the entertainment platform of gaming to provide an interactive environment where young people can learn skills other games canâ€™t teach; such as decision-making, resilience and coping techniques to help them through tough times.
It combines cutting-edge technology with the established principles of cognitive behavioral therapy to provide a series of interactive modules that help young people aged 16 â€“ 25 develop life skills critical to managing depression, coping with anxiety and preventing poor health outcomes.
Inspire Foundationâ€™s Chief Executive Officer, Kerry Graham, said â€œWinning this award is a great achievement for Inspire and our partners and itâ€™s a fantastic boost to have Reach Out Centralâ€™s innovative approach to bringing mental health information to young people acknowledged internationally.â€
â€œSince our launch in September weâ€™ve had 66,000 visits to Reach Out Central and over 8,500 new members sign up to play the game. 56% of those new members have been young men. It shows that weâ€™re encouraging young men to visit Reach Out Central and interact with these positive health messages in the gaming environment,â€ said Graham.
Funding for Reach Out Central was provided by visionary supporters Sony Foundation Australia, which contributed $500,000 through its Project Rainbow program and substantial financial support was also provided by beyondblue: the national depression initiative, NSW Health, Teen Spirit Foundation and Golden Stave Foundation. Recognising the enormous potential of online games to reach young people, beyondblue has provided funds, encouragement and support to the Inspire Foundation to develop this game from the initial concept stage through to completion.
Co-winners of â€œWhy Games Matter: A Prescription for Improving Health and Health Careâ€ are two organisations from India and Canada. Further details are available here http://www.changemakers.net/en-us/competition/healthgames.