Project information
Augmented Social Play (ASP): smartphone-enabled group psychotherapeutic interventions that boost adolescent mental health by supporting real-world connection and sense of belonging (ASP)

This project will develop Augmented Social Play (ASP), a new digital intervention format which uses smartphones to deliver real-world face-to-face group psychotherapeutic experiences, and create supportive communities. Augmented Social Play combines creative storytelling, contemporary technology, and evidence-based psychology to deliver Augmented Reality-facilitated, face-to-face collaborative experiences which boost mental health by providing insight into alternative perspectives, reducing stigma, increasing group cohesion, and encouraging positive peer relations – fostering a greater sense of belonging and connectedness. We want to use ASP totherefore tackles head-on the dramatic increases in social isolation and associated other mental health problems experienced by young people with the rise of social media use driven by digitalization and associated social transformations, which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have established the feasibility of ASP through a proof-of-concept at TRL 3. Through our work on this proof-of-concept, we have defined some pillars of ASP: (1) a shared fictional narrative that the entire group becomes part of, with elements of roleplay and immersive audiovisual storytelling; (2) gameplay, guided by smartphones, that steers players together for real-world interaction and co-operative problem-solving; (3) implicit embodied psychoeducative learning based on experience; (4) creating a safe space for a group to reflect on complex and difficult topics; (5) compatibility with entry-level smartphones (or tablets) with no prior training or external facilitation required.

Now, in a transdisciplinary project spanning academia, industry and the arts, we want to develop the first full-scale ASP intervention to TRL 5/6 – referred to here as ASP #1. This intervention, co-developed with young people in multiple countries while rooted in established evidence-based psychotherapeutic methodologies, will support mental health at the onset of adolescence by focusing on the concept and experience of belonging within social groups, while exploring perceptions, experiences and strategies around mental health. We will implement this intervention in schools in Portugal, Serbia and the UK, using strategies informed by a policy review, and evaluate its efficacy, cost-effectiveness and implementation in ord

Sustainable Development Goals

Masaryk University is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to improve the conditions and quality of life on our planet by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goal No.  3 – Good health and well-being Sustainable Development Goal No.  4 – Quality education Sustainable Development Goal No.  8 – Decent work and economic growth Sustainable Development Goal No.  17 – Partnerships for the goals


Total number of publications: 3

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