About 12 million Brazilians live with depression and, as much as the subject has been talked about in recent years, the taboo on the disease is still very present in society.
This is more intense in the case of Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), which occurs when at least two attempts with different drug treatments do not work.
To show what it’s like to have this condition, the Janssen created the game “Welcome Journey”, which allows users to learn about the journeys of people who deal with mental disorders and promote reflections with the aim of generating behavior change.
The game is one of the actions of the Falar Inspira Vida Movement, focusing on September Yellow, month of suicide prevention and in favor of mental health.
The game “Welcome Journey”
As important as understanding what RTD represents is the need to be informed about how to support people with this condition, who are seven times more likely to commit suicide. The game intends to stimulate the search for medical help from four different perspectives, according to the patients’ journeys.
The common point between all of them is the importance of welcoming, and the various resources that make it possible to overcome barriers to the path of understanding and quality of life.
“When you use a game to talk about mental health, you get away from a traditional way of portraying the issue and show that symptoms occur in the most diverse of people”, says psychologist Karen Scavacini, president of the Vita Alere Institute for the prevention and post-vention of suicide . “The main message of the Treatment-Resistant Depression journey is that the patient doesn’t give up on feeling better and seeking help.”
The game “Journey of Welcome” was developed by a team composed of professionals from different areas and specialties, such as Karen. “We thought about what needed to be in the game, what the goal was, how the journeys should be done, what we couldn’t have in each one, and all the aspects of care we should take when dealing with a sensitive topic to raise awareness public, encourage empathy, guide how people can speak, offer help, reduce prejudice and inform”, says the psychologist.
The game is divided into four journeys: a Discovery, in which the player puts himself in the place of a person who begins to show symptoms of depression and has not had his diagnosis confirmed. The challenge at this stage is to identify the signs, face stigma in relation to the disease and understand that the secret for the next phase is to seek specialized help; The Resilience, which deals especially with Treatment-Resistant Depression, showing that it is more common than one might imagine and requires special attention to these patients’ obstacles to their improvement; The Hope, created to help in how to help those who show signs of depression and suicidal thoughts; and, finally, the Caution, in which users become doctors for a day, briefly illustrating their work routine and continuous updating.
In the case of the second journey, the idea is to show the DRT and the importance of not giving up on treatment. In addition to looking for the health professional – in this case, the psychiatrist – to openly say that he is not well and that he needs to look for new possibilities.
As the psychologist points out, the playful part of the game makes it possible to carry a difficult message in a light way. “The game makes it easier to normalize a situation that is not easy, about the symptoms of a person with depression, and show that we do not need to get used to the suffering and that there is help available”, he points out.
For Karen, the game represents part of a much larger project to raise awareness and is a way to bring the issue closer to other audiences, such as teenagers, and break down prejudices.
The “Welcome Journey” brings empathy as its central point, as it gives everyone the opportunity to understand a little about how a person who has Treatment-Resistant Depression lives.
“The user will make the journey as if they had DRT and will be able to feel in ‘other’s skin’ for some time. It’s a way to break the initial barrier regarding the subject”, shows the psychologist.
In addition to the game, the movement’s website provides indications of places that offer psychiatric help through the Mental Health Map platform, created by Karen, which shows the geolocation of available services. To learn more about the game, click here!
Meet the Talking Inspires Life Movement
Demystify the conversation about depression through knowledge, creating a more favorable environment for those who need care and specialized help. This is the purpose of the Falar Inspira Vida Movement, conceived in 2019 by Janssen, Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical company, in partnership with institutions that work for the cause of mental health in Brazil, such as CVV, ABRATA, IPq (Institute of Psychiatry of Hospital das Clinics – USP), Vitalk, Vita Alere, CDD, Hub RH+, Grupo Abril and Veja Saúde.
The campaign “Welcome Journey – Inspiring care for depression” was organized by the movement this year and brings the game as the focus of actions for the Yellow September.
Since its launch, Falar Inspira Vida has proven to be one of the most innovative initiatives in the country on the subject and, as a result, it has already transformed the way people understand and talk about mental health and depression.
In 2020, Falar Inspira Vida launched the guide Depression: when knowing how to speak and listen inspires lives, the documentary Existir & Resistir in partnership with Discovery Channel and Vagão do Ahosting, action for last year’s Yellow September.
For the psychiatrist Elson Asevedo, the campaign was a milestone in the dissemination of the subject in a sensitive way, because talking about depression is not referring to pessimism or being unwell. “Talking about emotions effectively is something that produces well-being”, he emphasizes.
According to the specialist, those who are suffering end up ashamed to accept their health problem and express it to others. “That way, there is a closed door without dialogue. If there were this environment of emotional support, the difficulty of treatment would be much less, since we would be able to expand support in their family network and treat diseases early”, he says.
Asevedo points out that the movement has a didactic component of indicating common ways people use to talk about emotions, but which are very pejorative and prejudiced, without us realizing it.
“One risk we take when helping someone is feeling superior. And no: it needs to be a people-to-people conversation, along a horizontal line of mutual respect, knowing that what works for one may not work for the other. It’s a conversation of listening and welcoming, not advice and solutions”, he concludes.
“Calendas de Março” by Ivete Nenflidio unites memory, politics and literature with sensitivity and emotion