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Prototyping a serious game intervention promoting mental health literacy in children and adolescents

The topic of mental health in children and adolescents has come into focus recently, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Innovative approaches for promoting mental health literacy (the ability to maintain good mental health and having access to "healthy" strategies for coping with mental health burdens and psychological stress) are more important than ever. That's why the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Medical University of Vienna and the Ferdinand Porsche FERNFH have launched the PSYGESKOM project.

The aim of the project is to develop a game for smartphones/tablets that promotes mental health literacy among 10 to 14-year-old students. With close involvement from children and adolescents, as well as experts in psychology, child and adolescent psychiatry, social sciences, software and game development, artificial intelligence, and fantasy storytelling, we will develop a game that is closely aligned with the needs of children and adolescents. It will combine mental health literacy development with fun, enabling playful learning.

The objective of the game will be to guide virtual avatars in various situations and emotional states towards a good mental health. As part of a controlled study in schools in Vienna and Lower Austria, the prototype of this game will be evaluated regarding its potential efficacy and user experience among a sample of 240 students.

The main goals of this project are:

  • Needs assessment to determine which aspects of mental health literacy should be promoted and which game elements are attractive to children and adolescents
  • Development of the prototype of a smartphone/tablet game to promote mental health literacy among students aged 10-14
  • Evaluation of the player experience and the potential effects of the game intervention in a controlled pilot study
  • Collection of important factors for adoption, implementation, and sustainability of this intervention


Project partners

This project is a collaboration between the Department for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Medical University of Vienna (Principal investigator: Mag. Dr. Michael Zeiler) and the Ferdinand Porsche FERNFH (Principal investigator: Profin(FH). Mag.a Karin Waldherr).

Project Funding:

This project is funded by the Vienna Science, Research and Technology Fund (WWTF) and the state of Lower Austria (Project number: 10.47379/LS22030). Project duration: April 2023 - March 2027.


Please contact the project team via the following email address: