A London-based start-up app developer Brightlobe created a mobile video game designed to aid children have an improved mental health as they go through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mobile game called "Kai's Sanctuary" was released on October 28. It was funded completely by Innovate UK, a part of the governmental innovation agency UK Research and Innovation, which provides grants on research programs and businesses that promote innovations.

‘Kai's Sanctuary’: a mobile game for children’s mental health
(Photo : Brightlobe)
‘Kai's Sanctuary’: a mobile game for children’s mental health

Kai's Sanctuary is Brightlobe's first content release. Currently, the company is in the process of creating a game-based developmental assessment platform. It will be the world's first of its kind game, which offers physicians and parents inputs on the child's progress, which could be helpful in having early interventions for autism, ADHD, and other conditions.

'Kai's Sanctuary': a mobile game for children's mental health

In "Kai's Sanctuary," a healer named Kai takes care of the injured or sick animals, which are protectors or guardians of children in his futuristic sanctuary. Using various games, players get involve in a cognitive behavioral therapy to assist them in managing their emotions through deep breathing exercises, digital emotional assessment, and even joining Tala the sloth in her yoga classes.

‘Kai's Sanctuary’: a mobile game for children’s mental health
(Photo : Brightlobe)
‘Kai's Sanctuary’: a mobile game for children’s mental health

The game is inspired by a children's novel written by Brightlobe Founder and CEO Shivani Lamba. It is now available for download on iOS devices while Android users can avail it early next month.  It is absolutely free without in-app purchases.

"Prior to the first coronavirus lockdown in March, Brightlobe was piloting our game-based developmental assessment platform, which is due for release in 2021," Lamba said in a statement in Daily Mail. They switched to a game-based solution to alleviate the situation as children's mental health was worsening based on early data.

‘Kai's Sanctuary’: a mobile game for children’s mental health
(Photo : Brightlobe)
‘Kai's Sanctuary’: a mobile game for children’s mental health

The company CEO also thanked Innovate UK for believing in their project, which is based on published clinical research about the efficacy of mindfulness CBT.

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The science behind the app

According to its website, Brightlobe aims to make the app as tool for digital therapeutics, in which "evidence-based therapeutic interventions" are applied through advanced software programs to manage, prevent, or treat a disorder or illness.

"Over 80 per cent of children with mental health difficulties said that COVID-19 had worsened their mental health," said Jane O'Rourke, a psychotherapist for children, adolescents, and family. She is also the founder of MINDinMIND, which hosts podcasts and interviews of leading child mental health experts. She also provides counselling service for a primary school.

As children feel increasingly anxious and lonely during the pandemic, "Kai's Sanctuary" has helped in encouraging children to slow down through deep breathing and other exercises. The app also urged kids to "build a sense of self-agency," which allowed them to be able to control their anxiety independently.

Dr. O'Rourke also noted that slowing down pacifies the brain as well as boosts children's ability to self-reflect. Thus, they may start classifying their emotional states and understanding others' feelings and minds.

Brightlobe has provided a tool for the children in the UK, which they may utilize throughout their lifetime, particularly when they need to feel calm, steady, and self-reflect.

Meanwhile, the company foresees to have continuous improvements and evolution on the game based on user feedback. The company also vows to provide new content updates, which include augmented reality adventures.

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Written by CJ Robles

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