One in five adults have a mental health condition. That's over 40 million Americans. Youth with severe depression increase every year, now almost 10% of the populate have depression. Seventy-six percent of those with depression have no treatment. Ten million experience suicidal ideation. And on top of that, there is a shortage of care in America. What do these stats tell us? It shows that mental health is a huge issue in our current day society, and many people do nothing about it. Some believe it is merely a "phase," and others think that it's something many can easily control. Sadly, that's not how it works. Those of us with mental health must understand that we are not alone, and others must understand that they need to understand those with depression or other issues and help them out.
Don't take mental health lightly. Understand that words have a huge impact, and even the smallest of gestures can help someone. Be considerate of other's feelings and problems, and instead of pushing them away, try talking to that person and see if they need to talk. You can also do your part by spreading awareness to others and letting your friends and family know the importance of this issue.
Our game, Trapped Within, is a text-adventure game that brings back the old style of only text. We decided to go with this format to not only keep it simple, but to allow the user to come up with their own interpretations of what they see. Our story is an allegory, or in other words, is a metaphor for what it may feel like to have depression. Simply put, the house represents depression as a whole and how you become trapped within it. The journal entries are your not only your inner thoughts, but also what you feel depression is. There are other metaphors in the story, but we leave it up to you to figure out what they mean.
Trapped Within not only explains what depression is, but also what it feels like to have depression and resources to help those in need. The feeling of hopelessness, jumbled emotions, lack of care, and other things "you" feel all show what it is like to be depressed. Parts in the story where you wish to do something, but the character doesn't necessarily do what you want shows how you can't necessarily control yourself or your emotions. At the end of the game, we added many numbers/hotlines to call and a short message about mental health to not only inform the user, but help those depressed by giving them a way to talk.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
National Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-800-488-4663
Crisis Call Center: 775-784-8090
Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
Depression Hotline: 630-482-9296
There are many other more hotlines you can call. If you ever need someone to talk to, please call one of the numbers above. Remember that you are not alone, and that there are people out there who will help you.
Creators: Angela Steinmetz, Rowan Woodard, Koko Sipraseuth