Avatar interaction can overcome depression

Young adult depression can be reduced with computerised avatar interaction, a recent Case Western Reserve University study in the United States (US) revealed.

Sufferers of depression between the ages of 18 and 25 are encouraged to precede psychologist appointments with 3D-image sessions of medical practitioners or therapists for self-management skill improvement.

A suitable designed interactive avatar program, Electronic Self-Management Resource Training (eSMART-MH), was tested on 28 participants.

Users are guided by asking questions and talking about their feelings or experiences through healthcare appointments by a provider in a virtual primary care office setting.

“We are very early in the science. We look forward to assessing the eSMART-MH again in a larger study of young people,” said Melissa Pinto, Clinical Research Scholar and instructor at Case Western Reserve’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.

This follows research showing most depression victims do not seek help until the psychological disorder is in its advanced stages, according to Pinto, who has studied adolescent depression for six years.

The eSmart-MH program was developed by Doctors at the University of Southern Florida, Ronald Hickman Jr., John Clochesy and Marc Buchner from the engineering school at the Case Western Reserve Virtual Gaming Lab.

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