Expert Reveals Easy, Fun way to Fight Mental Health Crisis When We Feel More Alone Than Ever


Tech entrepreneur, screenwriter and award-winning producer Rosemary Lokhorst lived with chronic illness for 20 years before teaming up with The Digging Deep Project and a team of psychologists to develop Shadow’s Edge, a free mobile self-help game for teens. 

Lokhorst designed the game to make young adults who are struggling with mental and physical health crises have somewhere to go to feel heard, seen and significant—and to know they’re not defined by their problems.

Shadow’s Edge is available in six languages, and Lokhorst developed the app so well that it’s delivered proven psychological benefits for players, including:

  • Proactive Coping: Dealing in a future-oriented way with a difficult situation; setting realistic goals
  • Mindfulness and acceptance: The nonjudgmental focus on and acceptance of present moment experiences
  • Optimism: A mental and emotional attitude that future conditions will work out for the best
  • Emotional Regulation: The capacity to allow and deal with strong emotions
  • Derived Meaning: Getting a sense of purpose through what is happening
  • Positive Self Identity: Having a feeling of self-worth
  • Connection: Being able to access the feeling of being supported and being able to reach out for help within the game’s own network of players

We asked Rosemary a few questions regarding her contribution, passion, and education in the mental health field.

California Life: What is your background (educational or personally) in the mental health field?

Lokhorst: I have a background in technology, business development, and game production and am fondly known by my peers as a ‘Techspert.’ I was approached by the Digging Deep Project Founder, Sheri Sobrato Brisson, who was looking for someone who could turn her self-help book for mental health into a digital product. As a pioneer in designing and developing games for teens with health challenges, I have inspired many young teens and young adults to build resilience through playing Shadow’s Edge, our free mobile game for those struggling with mental or physical health issues. I’ve been working on this product for 5 years with our partners.

California Life: Why are you passionate about the field of mental health?

Lokhorst: My passion lies strongly in producing content focusing mainly on impact messaging in entertainment and gaming. Shadow’s Edge is an opportunity for me to marry my passions for game design/development and mentoring and supporting youth. Having to live with a chronic illness and its emotional challenges myself, I feel deeply connected to this project and truly believe in the power of narrative therapy and creativity as a mental health tool to surmount feelings of hopelessness and isolation.

California Life: What are some of your own contributions you’ve made in the field?

Lokhorst: Supporting my work with Shadow’s Edge, I’ve also taken my love for screenplay and have developed a script about a young girl dealing with a terminal illness. The story touches on the importance of open communication and resilience surrounding depression and chronic illness. I also regularly contribute blog posts and articles to create awareness around mental health in kids and teens and my hope is that more will feel empowered to tell their own stories and share the unique challenges they face in life. In addition, I take great pride in investing and mentoring young female entrepreneurs and was awarded the Swiss Enterprise Award for Innovation in Social Impact and Transmedia Content in 2017 as well as the Stevie Women in Business Award for Female Innovator of the year in a non-profit, 2019.

Rosemary’s passion and drive is what makes this game so successful. The numbers speak for themselves: 80% of players saw increased optimism, 82% saw better emotional regulation, 83% felt more connected and 76% improved mindfulness, awareness and self-identity.

Stay well and know that you’re not alone.

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