DeepWell Digital Therapeutics has announced that it's hired industry veteran Kate Edwards to join its publishing team.
Edwards will be stepping into the role of "head of global outreach and readiness." Her first task will be overseeing DeepWell's first annual Mental Health Game Jam, where developers will be challenged with developing therapeutic experiences for games that can serve as entertainment and potentially FDA-approved mental health treatment.
Developers participating in the Game Jam (running May 1 - May 22) will have a chance to earn cash prices ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, with the "winner" securing consultation and mentorship to develop their prototype into a full game.
"Addressing mental health challenges by providing treatment and support is essential to creating cultures that embrace diversity, acknowledging the role of game creators and the often- untapped power of play," DeepWell stated when it announced this upcoming game jam.
Edwards has been dabbling in the world of mental health and games for a moment, having both participated in the first-ever International Gaming Summit on Mental Health and serving on the board of game industry mental health organization Take This.
Edwards' presence adds to the industry bona fides backing up DeepWell's push into the world of FDA-approved video game mental health treatment. Co-founder Mike Wilson (formerly of Devolver Digital) previously told Game Developer that "the people from the medical side of [DeepWell] are excited about is that is finally having therapies that people will actively voluntarily engage in because they're having a good time."
Hiring Edwards to help in this effort also provides DeepWell with a leader who has a background in parsing different global cultures. Given that mental health (and mental health treatment) take different forms in different countries, having a key figure who's looking for multi-pronged approaches may be vital to the company's success.