Video games and mental health have a surprisingly long history. There has been much written about the moral panic of violent video games, to the cognitive benefits of play. One aspect that has been overlooked is how video games and mental health relate to each other, especially in terms of depressive and stressful situations.
In a detailed and personal long read, one gamer has laid out his journey with video games and mental health, and how playing games gave him hope for the future. Whilst not a magic cure, video games were a beneficial activity to turn to: “In my case at least, changing my lifestyle and accessing treatment in the real world was what mainly improved my mental health, but gaming provided a useful outlet during the worst times.”
The article also focuses on how games can be inspiration for change, highlighting their ability to: “tell interactive stories about the future that can provide an inspiration for the kind of real world political and social change that would ensure people don’t end up feeling depressed in the first place.”
The author compares the best types of video game story to speculative fiction, where imaginative concepts can be explored in detail. “Utopian stories have been a source of political and social inspiration for hundreds, if not thousands of years, they illuminate problems in our present while also modelling solutions for our future.”
The article advocates the role of video games to be part of an “avenue to explore and spread ideas for use in our everyday lives”, which can help lead to a more positive future, or at least give hope for one.
Gaming, Mental Health and Seeing the Future [via The Leveller]