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Serious games for detection and treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Work-related trauma is a primary problem in our society. Worldwide, several professions include the high risk of exposure to traumatic occupational demands. Their employees, confronted with differing serious traumatic incidents, have a substantial chance of developing trauma related mental problems, leading to frequent dropouts at work. Although professional help is mostly available after manifestation of these psychological problems, early detection or even prevention has so far been lacking, resulting in a continuous high number of dropouts and subsequently high costs for companies. This is particularly evident in the Dutch Railways, as they suffer from substantial train personnel sick leave (up to 20%) due to traumatisation of their train employees (after confrontation with suicides or serious accidents on the train track).

Furthermore, traumatisation can lead to negative effects on the operational train safety through trauma-induced attention deficits of train drivers. The Dutch Railways currently only focuses on the aftermath of confrontation with a traumatizing incident by implementing support groups and external trauma counseling.

A-MINDSET introduces, with the Dutch Railways as launching customer, an innovative interactive assessment tool, using video images and physiological biomarkers, for prevention and early detection of trauma-related problems. Thereby, preventing trauma related psychological problems from developing or diagnosing these problems in a more fast and objective way. In a detection module employees are exposed to a virtual representation of the train-specific traumatic incident evoking anxiety and a stress response, while measuring, both subjective and objective (e.g. heart-rate, skin conductance) parameters. Using a prevention module high-risk employees are gradually exposed through virtual confrontation with different traumatic incidents, leading to an increased resilience for the train-specific trauma, ultimately resulting in decreased sick leave.

The long-term goal of A-MINDSET is to develop custom-made interactive video assessment tools for the prevention and fast detection of trauma-related problems amongst employees in professions at risk for traumatic confrontation, on an international level. The main assets of A-MINDSET include:

  • unique expertise in anxiety and trauma-related psychiatric problems;
  • design of interactive video modules for prevention and quick detection;
  • implementing objective parameters next to the already existing subjective parameters to measure trauma-related problems.