SPARX is an e-therapy tool that teaches young people mood management skills to combat mild to moderate depression. It is one of the first examples of cCBT (computerized cognitive behaviour therapy) and has been successful in reaching members of the Maori population in New Zealand as well as the Inuit population in Nunavut, Canada.
We know that young people don’t always want to see a counsellor, therapist or other medical professional. SPARX does not replace counselling or therapy, but provides another tool for professionals that work with young people that are down and unable or unwilling to meet with professionals in a traditional setting.
SPARX uses a fantasy game platform to engage users through seven modules (or 'provinces') of game play. The mission: to restore balance in a world that is dominated by gloom and negativity. A guide supports the user throughout the program and provides encouragement and dialogue to promote the idea that depression is treatable and that by making some achievable changes the user will see changes in their mood and their ability to manage anger.
Each of the teaching components can be applied to a real-life context and tasks are given to facilitate generalization into everyday life.
Pometa is currently working closely with Indigenous communities throughout British Columbia, as well as professionals from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) where the game was first launched in order to produce SPARXCanada - a SPARX game specially designed for Indigenous Youth in Canada.