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Swati Survey has been working on sports that can improve mental health for over 10 years. She’s still on it, and she’s added a new minigame to the mobile game Sinasprite called Gratitude, which she launched over a decade ago to help patients manage problems like stress, anxiety or depression.
Starting in 2012, Litsprite created a game called Sinasprite, using a fox character named Sox to travel the animated world. I wrote about the company years ago and spoke with Survey at a recent DICE Summit event in Las Vegas.
Unlike many action games, the sox takes the players on trips that are pleasant or comfortable. The survey said his company has become adept at measuring the impact of sport on the behavior and health of its players, and has clinical findings that support the notion that it helps people cope.
A peer-reviewed analysis from Ohio State University found that Sinasprite made a “clinically relevant improvement”, meaning that the player remained productive two more days per week than before the intervention (i.e., playing Sinasprite).
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Recent internal findings show that within six weeks 34% of users have reported a clinically related improvement; 19% of users reported minimally clinically significant difference in anxiety (MCID); 34% of users reported medically related improvement; And 12% of users reported an improvement in depression. The findings will come out later this year.
In December 2020, Litesprite launched the commercial version of Sinasprite on iOS and Android, and in January of this year, the company relaunched Sinasprite’s gratuitous mini-game, adding it to the commercial version.
Gratitude adds another journaling technique with multimedia experience this time around to overcome depression and anxiety. Players can play on their own, or have the option of a multiplayer experience. Studies have found a link between the practice of gratitude and the improvement of mental health, with this technique showing a 35% reduction in depressive symptoms. Courtney E. Analysis by Ackerman is at PositivePsychology.com.
The survey said part of the mission is to condemn mental health problems and remove barriers to help. That’s why the company offers a forever-free version of our game.
Since 2019, the company has teamed up with other strategic investors Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Tabula Rasa and Jumpstart Foundry to raise more money from strategic investors NexCube and AARP Innovation Labs. And the company became a recognized vendor with big, national benefit consultants like Mercer and Aon and channel partners like Shortlister and Benefits Pitch. Litesprite has also expanded its team with Sarah Denzo, Chief Clinical Officer; Vivin Purushotman, Chief Technology Officer; And Tarneh Fulz, Chief Revenue Officer.
And Litesprite is formalizing a partnership with Rise Above, a nonprofit that serves Native American youth across the country. Rise Above is looking for digital forward solutions, such as Litesprite, that cater to the needs of its communities.
Here is an edited transcript of our interview.
Swati Survey: At Litesprite we have re-launched our gratitude mini-game. It’s a multiplayer experience as part of the application. We are very excited about that. It confirms what keynote speaker Laura talked about, where we need group experience, but small, intimate groups, close friends and family. Gratitude lets you play with four or five of your friends and family. The idea is to teach the practice of gratitude but also to connect your social network in a small, intimate fashion. Recent reviews of the players say they have used it several times throughout the year. Some said it saved their lives. It’s so exciting.
From a business perspective, we are now working with many employers. They are very happy with the results. We are also expanding their international locations with some of them, surveying their employee base. We started in the US and now we are going to support their employees globally. We are also very excited about it. We have appointed a new Chief Revenue Officer, Tarneh Fulz. She is great.
Gamesbeat: How many people do you have now?
Survey: We are still almost identical, about 10 people in the whole organization. We have a new board member who is playing a very important role in helping us achieve our new successes. We’re probably bringing in a new chief physician from the University of Washington, who is postdoctoral in the psychiatric department there. However it has not been finalized yet.
We are just so excited. We continue to innovate. We continue to learn about how technology can make a difference in one’s mental health. There are a lot of requests. You see VR mental health. You see apps for attention. But how do you actually move that needle and create a tool that people trust where we are literally used in times of crisis? We also run a range from prevention to emergency intervention to maintenance.
GamesBeat: What apps do you still have that you’ve worked on in the past?
Survey: We have one, Sinasprite. We have clinical beliefs on it. The structure of the game is that we have a variety of mini-games in the world. Our gratitude module or mini-game is the latest we’ve added. We also have meditation and journaling. They are all part of the same application. It creates a richer experience within Sinasprite, which focuses on mental health. But we’ve seen cancer patients use it. We have seen patients with diabetes. Anyone with a chronic condition usually has a mental health challenge. But these days everyone has a mental health challenge. This is a really difficult time.
That’s why we’ve seen so many employers looking for alternative solutions. Current solutions don’t really help their employees.
GamesBeat: What has worked best to bring this into the hands of users? How does it rotate?
Survey: We have the word of mouth. We are not actively – we mainly sell ventures. We haven’t done much of what you’d see in traditional games, where you monetize through the freemium model. Before the epidemic, we worked with insurance companies and health systems. After the epidemic, we saw demand from employers because people were burning. They are still struggling. We’ve seen statistics where 42 percent of all Americans are reporting some kind of behavioral health challenge. We’re supporting employers, and that’s where the traction comes from in a business perspective. Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation. It creates a different sales cycle, though, and a completely different user.
Gamesbeat: How do values work?
Survey: Monthly subscription for enterprise-wide, volume-based. It depends on how many seats they want, and then we do the volume-based calculation. There are also discounts for long-term contracts. We have also chosen payment terms. But mainly the number of seats and how long they want to subscribe.
Another interesting thing we are seeing now, which I was talking about many years ago – employers want data. And not like big brother. They really want to help. They want to understand what their employees are struggling with. That’s another major difference for us, and that’s why we’re getting so much feedback. What we can do is to make HR teams more efficient and more responsive to employee needs without constantly sending these surveys. No one ever responds and they don’t know what’s going on.
We can help HR teams become more supportive of the way they want to be for their employees and help them understand how to use other parts of the benefits they have. That’s another thing employers say they’ve been asked to do. I’ve been to a lot of forums and webinars where people say, “I wish we understood what triggers are so we can help.”
Gamesbeat: How many years have you been working on this?
Survey: After launching in 2013, I went full-time in 2014. I started researching it again in 2011 and 2012. I was tracking this area, and I didn’t see much – it’s still evolution. We are still considered frontier technology.
We also have new strategic investors after Bayer. We now have AARP. We have many strategic relationships with major profit brokers like Aon, Mercer, Lockton, which is one of the biggest profit brokers. We are working through that channel and we are the seller of choice. I don’t think there are many video games that are vendors of choice for HR benefits.
GamesBeat: New Ground Breaking There.
Survey: Yes! But it is very difficult. That’s all we have to learn. For me, video games are the most sophisticated software you can ever create. I was talking to people here. How many spreadsheet programs do you know that actually connect people to the sensor to make sure the user doesn’t get too stressed? All Triple-A games now do that. They cause emotional and physical reactions in the design. When you talk about descriptive and a lot of things that games bring together – community, currency, building, levels, visual representations – it’s very complicated. In the sports industry we all understand that. Even when you go out? Five year olds play those games. It can’t be serious.
Gamesbeat: Do you have peers in other games and apps that have been developed for mental health? Something like Nanea Reeves’ project, Tripp? They are working on a VR app for wellness and mindfulness.
Survey: Oh, yes, I saw it. Their target market is interesting. We track progress, and so we look at the other two clinical markers, which is clinical relevance – a two-point correction on PHQ for GAD for anxiety or depression – and then a term called Minimally Clinical Important Difference, MCID. . It is a change where the patient or person can understand that they are getting better.
I can give you exact figures, straight numbers, but we’re seeing that we’re moving the needle for anxiety and frustration – for anxiety I think it was 18% showing the least clinically significant difference, and then 12% Who frustrated. And then about 35% showed clinically related improvements on both. There is this kind of stuff when you go to a payer or a provider પરંતુ but now employers are asking for it too. They want to see engagement. They want to know about retention, standard metrics. But then they also want to know, what are the health consequences? We are also considering doing some potential studies that might give us some good data on our ability to be a self-help tool.
Sometimes, with certain groups જ્યારે when we do group analysis, there are a disproportionate number of older men who will approach and want to use the game format, because it doesn’t seem like anything medical. It gives them the flexibility they need in a private outlet.
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