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Daily Dose: Video Game Helps Soldiers Deal With Life After War

We don’t send soldiers off to war without proper training and now the Pentagon is looking at ways to prep them for coming home. For years there have been video games showing soldiers how to take down a terrorist, but now there’s an interactive game to help soldiers deal with post traumatic stress.

The game creates “virtual worlds” that guide visitors through settings that usually make victims uncomfortable and offers them tips on coping. Adam Ashton highlights the strengths of the video game in this article I found in The Washington Post:

For post-traumatic stress victims, Pentagon video game may help healing

Here’s an excerpt:

The Defense Department this month unveiled the T2 Virtual PTSD Experience, a project developed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that lets users explore the causes and symptoms of combat trauma.

It’s intended to help soldiers and their loved ones learn about post-traumatic stress in an anonymous setting. It can be used on Second Life, a popular virtual reality platform that can be downloaded for free.

“We hope that providing a place like this in Second Life will give you a chance to get back your first life,” Kevin Holloway, one of the program’s developers, says in an introductory video that tours “Psychological Health Island” on Second Life.

So my question for you is:

If the government were churning out other video games
to help with government problems, what would you want to see?

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“Daily Dose of the Washington Post” is a blog series created by GovLoop in partnership with The Washington Post. If you see great stories in the Post and want to ask a question around it, please send them to[email protected].

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Profile Photo Jeff Ribeira

Interesting…I’m very interested to see the results this game actually produces. I think better help for our vets with PTSD is definitely a needed resource, but I hope they’re taking into account the propensity for us humans to all too easily become lost in the virtual world, and actively helping them transition into reality. I guess we’ll see.

Profile Photo Big Picture Inc

This is an interesting article. I would like to see some gameplay or narrated screenshots though because the game (or “simulation”) sounds a little dumbed down in the article (“scoring points for having healthy interactions” -what exactly does this mean?). It’s great that this technology is so accessible especially since it is suspected that many soldiers do not seek the care they need (according to Greg Reger in the article). At the same time, I wonder how many individuals take this game seriously and how well the gameplay is monitored. Thanks for sharing!

Profile Photo Big Picture Inc

Thanks for sharing, Andrew. Based on the walkthrough, this looks like a good educational tool (although it seems a little buggy/slow compared to the latest trending video games, I’m sure the animation/graphics are just limited by the Second Life program). Super glad this technology is being used for something like this – I hope more schools will adopt game technology in the future.

Profile Photo Christina Morrison

This is a very interesting article. I too would be interested to see how the soldiers react to the game. As for other government video games – how about using second life, or a similar game to test out open government strategies? Lessons could likely be learned from seeing how a simulated community would take advantage of certain technology or online resources.