Serious games for professional skills: an escape room for exploring the possibilities of eMental Health

Joyce J.P.A. Bierbooms, Milou A. Feijt, Wijnand A. IJsselsteijn, Meddy Weijmans, R.J.W. (Wouter) Sluis-Thiescheffer, Inge M.B. Bongers

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherAcademic


Despite a growing body of evidence in support of the benefits of eMental Health (EMH), its actual use among mental healthcare professionals remains relatively low. Reviews on this topic found that the adoption by professionals is negatively influenced by limitations in their skills, abilities, and experiences with EMH. To overcome these limitations, a possible approach is to apply gaming techniques in training skills and abilities. Gaming techniques are a powerful means to provide hands-on experiences in a safe and social environment, and increase engagement in skill enhancement. This supports professionals in exploring EMH in a meaningful setting which would be difficult and potentially problematic in genuine therapeutic settings.In our project we aim to design a game-based environment for mental health care professionals, anticipating required EMH skills in modern therapeutic settings. Extensive research into the context and needs of mental healthcare professionals informed the design of an escape room scenario. An escape room is a game in which participants find themselves in a story line and have to solve puzzles within a limited amount of time. An escape room scenario offers the possibility to design story lines that reflect the real therapeutic settings of mental healthcare professionals.

In the workshop we aim to present the developed escape room scenario by providing the attendants a hands-on opportunity to experience and evaluate elements of the escape room scenario. Having thispossibility to really ‘play’ parts of the escape room makes this workshop very interactive and increases participants’ awareness of the possibilities of EMH. In addition, it introduces them to using an escape room as a new concept for skill enhancement.

Content and (interactive) activities
In the workshop we will first introduce our escape room scenario and underlying rationale for the design choices. Following this, we will have an interactive part where the attendants have the opportunity to work in small groups to work on a number of escape room puzzles.We will end the workshop with a short reflection on the experiences and a discussion on the applicability of an escape room for the purpose of exploring and experiencing EMH.Due to the content of the escape room puzzles, this will be a Dutch only session.

Expertise of workshop leader(s)
The workshop will be led by Joyce Bierbooms and Milou Feijt. Joyce Bierbooms is a senior researcher at Tilburg University, currently leading a postdoc research into the possibilities of serious games to enhance mental healthcare professionals’ skills in using EMH. Milou Feijt is a PhD student at TU/e and has done extensive research into the adoption of EMH among mental healthcare professionals. She is currently focusing on the development of a measurement instrument to assess professionals’ adoption of EMH, and the exploration of novel technologies to support empathic interactions in EMH
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2020
EventSupporting Health by Technology 2020 -
Duration: 11 Jun 202012 Jun 2020


ConferenceSupporting Health by Technology 2020


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