Media as medicine? Be it video games, music playlists, meditation apps or beyond, a new nonprofit aptly named Medicinal Media has launched to explore the intersection of the two fields.
Medicinal Media’s first project is an online publication of the same name. Unlike many so-called journalistic endeavors on the web, this one is truly done professionally -- by real writers, editors, artists and videographers.
So, as a longtime freelancer myself, my very first question was, “Do they get paid?”
The answer: Yes.
“With the arts being so core to what we do, paying our creative contributors -- writers and visual artists alike -- and making sure that pay is fair and respectable is a priority for us,” executive editor Elizabeth Seward tells Pharma & Health Insider.
Seward herself has over 20 years of experience freelancing for such magazines as National Geographic and Marie Claire. She says she’s spent well over a year putting plans for the publication together with Medicinal Media founder Mark Wilson. He’s a veteran of the video game industry, including currently serving as co-chief executive officer for DeepWell, whose video games double as mental health therapy.
With this column having covered the subject of the link between video games and mental health a couple of times in the past couple of months, and considering Wilson’s background in that field, I was surprised -- and impressed -- to discover that Medicinal Media’s initial content lineup largely bypasses that low-hanging fruit.
Instead, the publication offers pieces about PTSD treatment via virtual reality exposure, apps for sensory processing issues, and yoga videos for mood management. Topics come from a universe of possibilities that Seward’s “Editor’s Letter” cites as “the intersection of media and medicine…. I believe ways to wellness have always existed beyond the pharmacy. We’re going to tell you about the ones that involve media.”
In addition to covering media specifically designed to improve health, the universe includes what Seward calls “everyday art and media offerings that can be enjoyed and embraced in evidence-based ways for better health.” Hence, Medicinal Medicine’s initial output includes such articles as “Rooted: a case for spending time with trees, even if virtually” and “No art supplies, no problem -- making art online has never been easier.”
Medicinal Media is acquiring readers “primarily through social media, press, and within our individual networks,” Seward says.
The target audience? “We're kind of for everyone because learning to harness media for improved health is good for everyone,” Seward replies. “With that said, we are focusing very much right now on artists/creatives/innovators, scientists/academics, and those looking for a different/more accessible way to stay healthy, especially mentally.”
In addition to the online publication, Medicinal Media publishes “The Tonic,” an email newsletter.
And now I’m getting stressed out since deadline time is approaching and I don’t know how to end this column!
No worries, though. I just read in Medicinal Media that I can relax by spending some time hiking through trees in a virtual forest.
After a few minutes of doing this, I’m feeling in vacation mode rather than work mode.
And I’ve found an ending down the trail: