Call: Video Games for Mental Health – Special issue of JMIR Mental Health

Call for Papers

Special Issue on Video Games for Mental Health
JMIR Mental Health

Submission of Full Paper Due: February 15, 2019


In recent years, mental health has become a major disease burden globally. Untreated mental illness has serious consequences for the individual, resulting in a lower quality of life. Mental illness also has severe negative effects on the global economy. Digital solutions for mental health may offer relief to the overburdened health care system but would benefit from design approaches geared to increase participant adherence and engagement. When aiming to increase adherence and engagement, video games offer a rich design ecosphere-ranging from narrative elements usable in therapy, accessible social dynamics, over challenging cognitive tasks, to novel assessment approaches and applicability as preventive measures. As such, video games are well suited to advance digital solutions for mental health. While there is clear potential in video games for mental health, the challenges and opportunities of transferring game design to mental health applications, designing for specific mental illnesses, and integrating games for mental health into the clinical context are rarely addressed.

Within JMIR Mental Health’s scope, we invite submissions addressing these challenges and highlight opportunities on the intersections of mental health, well-being, video games, and player-centered design, including, but not limited to:

  • User-centered or participatory design methods applied to games for mental health
  • Implementation strategies and/or clinical and practical considerations when using games for mental health
  • User studies, experiments, and/or intervention studies, focused on outcomes of using games for mental health
  • Innovative game designs and technologies for promoting, assessing, or treating mental health
  • Video games and playful interactions applied in the therapeutic context


Authors are invited to submit a full-length manuscript by February 15, 2019.

The full-length manuscript should contain no more than 7500 words. Submitted papers should report new and original results that are unpublished elsewhere. Please prepare your manuscript with the template file and guidelines found at

Submissions should be sent through the online system at Authors should choose “Special Issue on Video Games for Mental Health (2018)” as the theme when submitting papers (see FAQ article on “How to submit to a theme issue”). All submitted manuscripts will undergo a full peer review process consistent with the usual rigorous editorial criteria for JMIR. Accepted papers will be published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, JMIR Mental Health, JMIR Serious Games, or another JMIR sister journal according to the focus and impact of the paper; with all papers appearing together in an e-collection (theme issue) guest edited by the academics listed below.

As an open access journal, JMIR will charge an Article Processing Fee (APF), to be paid after acceptance. Please review the fee information prior to submission: .

Contact Max Birk ( or John Torous ( for further inquiries.


  • Submission of Full Paper Due: February 15, 2019
  • Final Version of Paper Due: April 2019
  • Special Issue Publication Date (estimated): July 2019


  • Vero Vanden Abeele, KU Leuven
  • Max Birk, University of Saskatchewan
  • John Torous, Harvard Medical School
  • Greg Wadley, University of Melbourne
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