This Teenager Is Developing a Video Game That Assesses Your Mental Health
Rasha Alqahtani, an 18-year-old from Saudi Arabia, is determined to help her peers learn about their anxiety—in the wildly popular setting of ‘Minecraft’
At one point last year, high schooler Rasha Alqahtani had finals coming up and 35 Zoom calls booked. To manage her busy schedule, she had duplicate calendars—one on Google Calendar, the other printed and placed behind her laptop, so that even a power outage wouldn’t derail her. The now-18-year-old from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had laser-like focus on an extracurricular passion project: Creating a video-game tool to help diagnose teenagers with generalized anxiety disorder.
Alqahtani’s ambitious proposal—inspired, in part, by personal experience with the stressors of the pandemic—won her a behavioral science award in this year’s Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair, an annual competition for ninth through twelfth graders administered by the Society for Science in Washington, D.C. Her prototype aims to address the problems of stigma and inaccessibility that, psychologists say, present substantial roadblocks to teens getting mental health care.