No matter who you are, what you’ve seen or even what you haven’t, there’s going to be a time in your life where you need a safe space. A place where you can just comfortably exist, and take the time to work through whatever it is you’re working through at that precise moment in your life. For lots of people that safe space is gaming.
There are infinite ways in which everyday life can negatively impact your mental health and happiness, and it’s somehow always easier to find more misery than there is the glimmer of colour on the horizon.
However, a recent viral Twitter thread has united gamers across the globe, encouraging the sharing of positive and life-affirming stories with just one simple request: “Tell me about a gaming experience that you feel positively impacted your mental health.”
Asked on Twitter by game developer Emily Buck, the question soon spiralled into a mega-thread of honest and frank storytelling that’s brought to light a side of the gaming community that’s rarely seen: the raw, inspiring and strangely comforting truth of just how impactful a video game can be.
With hundreds upon hundreds of people adding their own stories to the thread, the discussion soon became a safe place of its own with each tale – somehow and without prompt – highlighting how even the worst situations imaginable can be overcome.
With gamers crediting emotional titles like thatgamecompany’s Journey or the RPG Maker classic To The Moon for helping them understand their feelings, to people who have fond memories of loved ones playing Horizon or finding courage in Dishonored, there’s a seemingly infinite amount of ways in which video games have helped improve lives.
Not only did the thread encourage other gamers to offer up their own stories, but it also encouraged people to talk to each other about their issues and – of course – recommend various games.
When it comes to mental health, sometimes the best thing you can do is start a dialogue with someone, and that’s exactly what this thread did.
Following on from the overwhelming response from gamers across the world, Emily tweeted: “Between replies and quote tweets, well over a thousand people have responded with their stories of how games helped their mental health.
“Thank you for being so genuine & vulnerable. You matter. Your stories matter. Your experiences matter.
“And most of all, you’re not alone.”
If you need someone to talk to there are dozens of professional outlets that can offer you help and support. Samaritans is a UK-based charity dedicated to reducing feelings of isolation and disconnection that can lead to suicide. If you need someone to talk to, contact Samaritans here.
Featured Image Credit: Tomohiro Nishikado