Making I-SPARX Fly in Nunavut

What’s this project about?

I-SPARX is a youth and community-directed e-mental health intervention designed with and for Inuit Youth. Video game players enter a fantasy world, where balance has been disrupted and light has been taken. Players create their own character and are given a mission to help restore balance and light to the land by collecting Power Gems. Navigating through 7 levels, youth complete challenges that help them learn skills based on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and emotion regulation.

How will we go about doing this project?

York University has partnered with Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqaatigiit Embrace Life Council, Pinnguaq, Nunabox and 5 Nunavut communities to adapt and evaluate the effectiveness of the video game. The original version (SPARX) was developed to support Māori youth in New Zealand deal with anxiety and depression.

The team met with youth leaders in Nunavut in the summer of 2018 to review the original version leading to the creation of the Inuit adaptation - I(nuit)-SPARX, notably by including Inuktitut imagery, audio and text content. The adaptation of the game is now complete, and youth leaders were involved in designing a culturally appropriate evaluation for it. Before I-SPARX can be made publicly available to all, the game needs to go through a trial.

Who can be involved?

Inuit youth ages 13 to 24 will be invited to test the I-SPARX game. Registration is on-line at www.isparxnunavut.com and the game is available in English and Inuktitut. There is no cost to the program. In addition, we will be partnering with interested communities to provide youth wishing to participate with the needed technology. Families, Elders and community members will be invited to participate in (virtual) workshops to share I-SPARX CBT and emotion regulation skills.

What will we do with our research findings?

The results of this study will provide us with an understanding of the effectiveness and cultural appropriateness of the I-SPARX game. Results of the evaluation will be reviewed by youth leaders, communities and project partners who will co-direct knowledge dissemination. Potential knowledge mobilization activities may include presentations to communities, writing an article summarizing our findings to submit to an academic journal, presenting the results at national and international conferences, and creating a summary of our findings to post on this website.

What is the next step?

Our next step is to recruit 100 Inuit youth across Nunavut to play the game to research its helpfulness using the evaluation measures developed.  I-SPARX will be launched soon and any Inuit community and youth who wish to participate will be invited to join the trial.

Want to know more about this project?

For more information, please feel free to contact isparxnunavut@gmail.com or Dr. Yvonne Bohr (bohry@yorku.ca), Principal Investigator on the study.