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Penn Nursing > Media > Veterans and PTSD > PTSD Game: Mission Reintegration
Mission Reintegration: A game to help identify PTSD symptoms

PTSD Game: Mission Reintegration

Penn Nursing's Game Solutions for Healthcare initiative encourages interdisciplinary teams to build healthcare applications using gaming technology, found to be an effective technique in health education. To this end, Penn Nursing master's student Shannon Richmond, RN has developed "Mission Reintegration," a game that educates soldiers about the warning signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon deployment and helps them build support networks before returning to civilian life.

. . . Penn Nursing master's student Shannon Richmond, RN has developed "Mission Reintegration," a game that educates soldiers about the warning signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon deployment and helps them build support networks before returning to civilian life.

Games Can Save Lives

More than one million U.S. soldiers have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001. The challenges of military life do not end in the field: Soldiers report one of the most difficult aspects of combat is the return to civilian life, complicated by PTSD. Military suicide rates have increased by 80 percent since the start of the Iraq war. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that occurs after exposure to extreme trauma and results in problems such as hyper-vigilance, avoidance, re-experiencing the trauma, and emotional numbing. Veterans with PTSD often feel out of place, unable to relate, and are emotionally numb to those around them. PTSD places enormous stress on soldiers and their family members. 

Game Objectives (PDF) »

Mission Reintegration, intended for a group setting, either in a military unit or through group therapy, focuses on the return to civilian life, interpersonal relationships, and PTSD symptom recognition and management. Players use dice and pick from a stack of cards to open dialogue and discussion. The goals of the game are to:

  • Begin reintegration education at the start of a soldier's deployment
  • Capitalize on camaraderie among units to better support soldiers through the reintegration process
  • Encourage active duty soldiers to use the game for mandatory educational reintegration credits
  • Promote a healthy reintegration process and strengthen support networks
  • Teach PTSD warning signs to soldiers so they may easily identify those who are struggling.