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.

Game Library

These articles discuss games and apps which have therapeutic implications or mental health content.
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(C) Campo Santo

No Rx Needed: A Therapist Recommends Games 2

Disclaimer: This article is meant to be informational and not serve as assessment, diagnosis, or treatment of mental illness. If you feel you need help with a mental-health-related issue, you are encouraged to seek the professional expertise of a qualified ...
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One Day At A Time- How Stardew Valley Can Help Mental Health

One Day At A Time- How Stardew Valley Can Help Mental Health

Stardew Valley is a unique game. Whereas most video games are primarily about overcoming obstacles, avoiding fail states while chasing victory conditions, Stardew Valley is mostly about comforting routines. The player is allowed to choose their own focus, and there ...
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No Rx Needed: A Therapist Recommends Games

No Rx Needed: A Therapist Recommends Games

This guest feature was written by Kim Shashoua, LMSW. Kim Shashoua, LMSW is a therapist who specializes in working with teens. She has presented at the GDC's Narrative Summit, academic conferences, and to many 15-year-olds. Disclaimer: This article is meant to be ...
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Stressed Out: An Examination of Mental Health in Darkest Dungeon

Stressed Out: An Examination of Mental Health in Darkest Dungeon

As CheckPoint grows as a community, we are privileged to have people coming forward and recalling their experiences of how video games and mental health came together. This article was submitted by Greg Lent. In most games, the stress of ...
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Akyll playing N64 (Image used with permission from Akyll)

Guest Feature: A Pumpkin In The Toilet- A Story About Autism and Video Games

Introducing Guest Features As CheckPoint grows as a community, we are privileged to have people coming forward and recalling their experiences of how video games and mental health came together. This article was submitted by Greg Lent. A Pumpkin In ...
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The Interactive Meditation App That Makes You Sway

The Interactive Meditation App That Makes You Sway

Meditation practice isn't about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better, it's about befriending who we are. - Ani Pema Chodron Mindfulness and meditation are gaining traction in the mental health & tech sphere rapidly, and with a ...
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