Video Games & Mental Health

 Video Games & Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness month in America. We at Africa Games Week are strong advocates for mental health awareness all year round, so we wanted to share a few points of interest and links to resources on the topic.

Mental Health awareness and support has been improving steadily in most of the world, and research into mental health and the gaming industry has cast light into what can be a potentially dark space.

Although there are risks in the gaming industry (like any other) of addiction for high-risk individuals or exposure to online bullying and other toxic behaviours, the industry overall has huge potential to be a force for good in the mental health space.

The most obvious way gaming can contribute to mental and emotional well-being is by providing a source of entertainment, relaxation and stress relief.

Then there are games whose storylines are designed specifically to explore the experience of mental health issues, giving players an understanding of what others are going through and making those fighting those battles themselves feel seen.

Games can also help in more subtle ways, teaching skills that go far beyond the virtual world. The dynamics of certain types of gameplay improve problem-solving skills as you advance from one stage to another. You build emotional resilience when having to fight and lose as you master skills to progress in the game. Learning from losing, and creative problem-solving, are life skills that can only improve real-life experiences.

Multiplayer games allow players to build and maintain interpersonal relationships and foster a spirit of teamwork.

And last, but by no means least, video games can build strong inclusive communities, creating safe spaces for those who might otherwise not have that. We have seen this in practice at Africa StreamCon during Africa Games Week, you can watch the panel hosted by @ruthy0nfire and @psych_vee here :

Here are some additional resources we found that may be of value to you: – a global mental health charity that offers courses, events, and community support. They also have an app that makes day-to-day life a more positive experience. – a charity whose mission is to create online spaces with a focus on the video games industry. a Kenya-based NGO bringing together a spectrum of professionals from mental health and non-mental health fields to work together under one roof working in research and interventions in mental health. the largest national mental health federation in South Africa. shares meditations, music for restful sleep, and short videos that explore the world of mindfulness.