Young people will be guided towards help with mental health problems after NHS bosses set up a link with one of the world’s most popular computer games.
Players of the soccer game Football Manager will see pitch-side adverts promoting the MindMate website in the first health marketing initiative of its kind.
It is part of a six-month campaign by NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to raise awareness of the website, set up to offer support and advice to young people.
The campaign uses technology which recognises where Football Manager players are logged on, so only those in Leeds will be able to see the eight-second adverts
Dr Jane Mischenko, Commissioning Lead for Children and Maternity Services at the CCG, said: “In the coming months we will be hoping to reach as many young people in the city as possible to make them aware of the help available via MindMate.
“Mental health and wellbeing is an important subject for children and young people, so our aim is to signpost MindMate as a resource that they can turn to for support and advice when the time suits them.”
The MindMate website was set up with the help of young people in the city and includes real-life stories, advice from professionals, games and health tips.
Dr Mischenko said: “We will be taking MindMate out into the city, at roadshows and events, and will be running digital and social media awareness initiatives to ensure we can reach as many young people as possible.”
The campaign was set up with the help of Bidstack, which provides advertising on Football Manager.
It is hoped the scheme will benefit young men who play the game.
Bidstack’s Simon Mitchell said: “Males in particular are hard to reach and engage, and the gaming environment in Football Manager is a great way to connect with them.”