How the Mental Health of Video Game Players Can Be Protected

An independent study by the Mental Health Foundation offers advice to video game publishers and players on how best to keep gamers healthy. According to their report, the video game industry has great potential as a source of mental health benefits. Can video games have a positive influence on mental health? Well, that’s what an independent study by the Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom, seems to have concluded. Twenty-four British adults aged 18 to 60 years were followed for three weeks. Through a daily “play log,” gamers described numerous benefits of playing on a console or PC for their mental health. In addition to giving gamers the opportunity to kick back, relax, reduce anxiety, and meet people, video games also allow gamers to express creativity in a healthy way.

However, all is not rosy in the land of gamers, as feelings of frustration, anger, and harmful behavior from other players affect other priorities in their lives, including self-care. According to the study, one of the negative feelings found among players is the lack of control. Sometimes they played more than they should or continued automatically without really knowing why. By tracking their moods each day after a gaming session, the participants noted a significant correlation between gaming and their moods.

A positive difference in the lives of players

Such awareness may have allowed them to better understand their attraction to video games, but also the problems they encounter regarding their gaming habits. The Mental Health Foundation recommends that players regularly reflect on their games to maintain their position as a positive element in their lives. The simple fact that a player notices that it can affect their state of mind is a big step towards adopting healthier habits.

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To ensure that gamers can use the game to improve their mental health, the foundation decided to take its message directly to video game publishers and developers. While they still need to improve moderation of abusive behavior and ensure games and the industry are more inclusive and representative of the population, they could also explore supporting mental health directly in games. The Mental Health Foundation tells publishers, “Gamers are asking you to do more: not because you have to, but because you have the opportunity and power to make a positive difference in their lives.” “The industry has enormous potential to act as a source for good that helps promote mental well-being,” the report highlights.

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