Useful Apps and Games
Video games are an accessible media with high prevalence of use. Moderate amounts of play are linked to positive mood, relaxation, reduced stress, emotional regulation, reduced depression, higher self esteem, self acceptance, increased vitality and self confidence, as well as creative and social benefits. These components are all part of positive mental health.
Using games as a therapeutic intervention or adjunct is an appealing concept. Video games are relatively cheap, they are easily accessible, and they are familiar to a high proportion of people. There are already validated and reliable game-based treatments in development for a variety of medical and psychological conditions which aim to exploit the benefits discussed above. Randomised control trials have also shown video games to be an effective treatment for anxiety and depression.
In addition to the benefits, games are also being used as a valuable tool to represent mental health issues for those who have suffered them, or wish to discuss them openly and sympathetically. In turn this provides education to the player and reduces the stigma around these important matters.
Whatever the reason, it is pretty clear that people love games and they may get a psychological benefit from playing them. But is there any specific game, mechanic, or genre which seems to add benefit? Over 1000 people let us know how they felt in an informal survey, and the same games kept coming up again and again. Our current research project looks into why these specific franchises seem to be so much more useful to people than others. Is it the sense of achievement? The in depth narrative? The social aspects? Or something else?
In this section, you can learn about how and why games might be of use, which games are available, and where to access more information.
These articles discuss games and apps which have therapeutic implications or mental health content.
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