World Mental Health Day 2022: Mental Health & Gaming
Life’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster for us all the last few years. It’s safe to say it’s taken its toll on our mental health as a global community. Whilst we’ve found a safe space in video games, and in empowering you with world-class gaming accessories, we know there’s more to be done.
That’s why we’re using this space to talk about World Mental Health Day 2022. Read on to learn more about World Mental Health Day, this year’s theme, why we’re talking about it, why gaming is good for your mental health, and some games to educate yourself with.
What is World Mental Health Day?
World Mental Health Day’s overall objective is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. It’s designed to mobilise efforts in support of mental health, providing opportunities for those working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make mental healthcare a reality for all worldwide.
The World Federation for Mental Health and World Health Organisation envision a world in which mental health is valued, promoted and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights; and where everyone can access the mental healthcare they need.
What is 2022’s World Mental Health Day theme?
This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is Make Mental Health & Well-Being for all a Global Priority.
COVID-19 has created a global crisis for mental health. With mental health services severely disrupted, treatment gaps for mental health conditions widened, and the rise in anxiety and depressive disorders at more than 25%, there’s never been a more important time to make mental health and well-being for all a global priority.
Even before the pandemic, one in eight people globally were living with a mental disorder. And with services, skills, and available funding for mental health in short supply, we must deepen the value and commitment we give to mental health as individuals and communities. Ultimately, we must strengthen mental health care so that the full spectrum of needs is met through community-based networks of accessible, affordable, and quality services and supports.
That’s why this year’s theme provides an opportunity for us to increase awareness of which preventive mental health interventions work, and to do it collectively, too.
Why are we talking about mental health?
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a bale of hay in Stardew Valley, the answer’s simple: because it’s important. We’ve been empowering gamers since 1999, and that stretches beyond LED streaming microphones and world class charging solutions; it’s about caring for our community and creating safe spaces to talk about mental health through what we love: video games.
It's not the first time we’ve touched on the topic either. If you’d like to educate yourself further, you can visit any of our blogs on:
- Gaming & Schizophrenia
- Gaming & Dementia
- Gaming & Grief
- Depression & Gaming
- Blue Monday – Gaming for Happiness
Is Gaming good for Mental Health?
It’s a tale as old as time. Too much time gaming can be bad for our brains. But like the bogeyman, it’s a little white lie our parents told us to get us to go to bed. Gaming can actually be a really helpful way to look after your mental health.
Why? Gaming gives you the space to unwind, relax and take time out from the pressures of daily life. It offers a sense of achievement and a place to learn new skills like problem-solving. And if you want it to be, gaming’s a great way to keep our social meters up high, keeping us connected with friends and family whilst having fun.
It’s not just guesswork either. Research by the University of Oxford discovered that playing video games can improve your mental health and make you happier by:
- Healthily stimulating your brain
- Relieving stress
- Combatting loneliness
- Developing coping mechanisms
- Expressing your true self
And not only is it good for your own mental health, but it can be good for educating you about others, too. To help make mental health and well-being for all a global priority, we’re giving you games to go check out to learn more about mental health and it’s impact on our lives and the lives of those around us.
In Psychonauts 2, you play as young acrobat Raz who’s shunned by his family as they fear his psychic abilities. Psychonauts unique level design offers you the opportunity to learn more about mental health and its different states as you explore the minds of different characters.
Some levels will see you exploring the depths of someone suffering from self-doubt and substance abuse, whilst another focuses on feelings of isolation and depression. You’ll also tackle unique enemies in combat such as ‘Panic Attack’ – fast moving creatures hard to pin down that duplicate to overwhelm you – which you tackle by using your ability to slowdown time. Like handling panic attacks in real life, it allows you to slow down your movements and focus on the challenge in front of you.
Celeste might’ve been an instant hit with speed runners, but its depiction of mental health is by far one of video game’s most accurate and thoughtful. You play as Madeline, who wants to climb a mountain in hope of simply achieving something.
It’s made quite clear that Celeste struggles with anxiety and low self-esteem, and along the way you’ll meet characters dealing with their own mental illnesses, who’s environments mirror and represent their struggles. You’ll even meet Badeline, a shadowy manifestation of Madeline’s mental health that affects the aesthetics and design of each level.
As the game edges to its end with you embracing your flaws rather than letting them define you, Celeste delivers a powerful message: it’s okay to not always be okay.
Gris might be one of the most beautiful games we’ve played, but it’s exploration of grief makes it a special game for mental health awareness. Gris follows a girl going through a personal loss as she journeys through the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – as she attempts to find her voice.
Pursued by a black amorphous creature which takes on monstrous forms, Gris’ antagonist is a metaphor for depression’s ability to appear as anyone or anything at any moment. Whilst it might feel like an obvious one, Gris’ stunning art and staggering level design empowers you to survive and thrive no matter what you’re facing.