“Take This: Where Gaming Meets Mental Health”

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This June 10, 2016 by Chloi Rad on the IGN website, talks about efforts being made to raise awareness of mental health issues to gamers.  One effort includes working on providing an “AFK Room” (for the non-gamers AFK means “Away From Keyboard” and is often used by gamers when they need to step away from their console or computer briefly or to explain a lack of response to someone who didn’t know they wandered away from their computer or console)  In the case of the AFK Rooms, the article indicates that they are meant to be a quiet place staffed by clinicians where attendees at some of the gaming conferences can step away from the noise and chaos they are experiencing.  These rooms have been known to help people who were suicidal, as well as those who are having anxiety issues.   Take This wants to remind gamers that they are not exempt from ever being in need of mental health support, and want to decrease the stigma among gamers towards those who do need support.

I think I would sum this up as simply saying it is an example of gamers helping gamers since the AFK rooms were created by a well-known game company.

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“Can video games fight ADHD?”

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This May 29, 2015 article on the cbcradio website talks about video games and ADHD and explains how some games can help improve symptoms  while others bypass ADHD symptoms.

“On Anxiety, Control, and Video Games”

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This May 18, 2014 article on the Opening Turn website talks about some of the reasons that video games can offer someone with an anxiety disorder a bit of a refuge or place to escape their illness for a little while.

Being a gamer myself, and also someone who has an anxiety disorder among other diagnosis, I find that gaming offers me a break from facing a seemingly endless stream of unknown variables that seem to be ever changing in their dynamic.  Most games I play have a set of boundaries that are the same for every player, and each player can’t change the rules of the game on a whim, so for me I don’t feel like I’m dealing with curve-ball after curve-ball like I do in the real world.  I feel like I get a break from facing unknowns and get to exist for a little while in a realm where I know that if I do X then Y will always happen and that predictability is what lets me relax my mind and step away from all the anxiety I feel when I face the real world.  Not saying that I game 24/7 but for me it’s like a mini-vacation throughout my day … I’ll do some house work or attend a meeting and then spend a little time running around in a video game for a half hour or sometimes a couple hours depending on what else I need to accomplish, and then I’m off doing the next thing.  I love gaming, but I also recognize the need for a balance between my gaming and real world activities, but I find that for myself that as long as I keep up a good balance between the two, gaming can be very helpful in making my real world activities easier to carry out because I’ve gotten those breaks from my anxiety during the day.  I do feel that for me, the amount of time I spend gaming is something that helps me gauge how well I’m managing my illness.  I find that when I’m doing a good job at managing my illness, I tend to spend less time gaming, but if I slack off and get lazy about managing my illness, then my gaming tends to take over my entire life.  I’m not saying this is true for everyone, just that I’ve noticed in myself that if I pay attention to things like how much time I spend gaming I can have a pretty good idea whether I need to review how I’m managing my illness so I can function in the real world.  A vacation into a virtual world is a great thing, but living there is probably not the most brilliant idea in the world.  I do know I tend to spend more time gaming then most people I know, I would argue that I’m not everyone else.  When my illness is poorly managed I would easily find myself gaming from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed.  On the other hand when I’m managing my illness in a more balanced way, my gaming on average is about 2 to 3 hours a day depending on what else I have going on.

Future events marker for video games

Future events marker for video games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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