In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a report with the important conclusion that depression is the main cause of disease in young people between ten and nineteen years of age. Chronic stressors such as a low socio-economic status are major risk factors for the development of depression. Unfortunately, it is precisely this group that is poorly reached for prevention. The recommendation of the WHO, therefore, is to focus research – more than ever – on the target group of young people with mental health problems and a low socio-economic status.
The Public Care and Prevention for Youth research group of the Research Centre Innovations in Care aims to prevent the worsening of depression symptoms and the emergence of other possible health problems in (young) adulthood by strengthening the mental vitality of these young people through serious gaming. The research focuses on Rotterdam youths, because this is a vulnerable group at risk for developing depressive symptoms. As many as 60% of all Rotterdam youths live in disadvantaged neighbourhoods; 17% of the young people in Rotterdam are part of a family receiving benefits; and almost 3% of the Rotterdam youth need care or require supervision from youth care.