Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health-related stories you may have missed. This week, we have an in-depth look at video game addiction treatment, concerning news about hormonal birth control, and the pain of being the only line of defense between your company and an angry audience.
Content warning: discussion of suicide.
“At their worst, patients come to reSTART suffering from malnutrition, experiencing severe weight gain and loss. They are often times depressed, suicidal, experiencing health problems and are socially anxious to the point of becoming shut-ins. Some of its patients, Cash says, play games on average between 17 and 20 hours a day. She compares them to the Hikikomori, a Japanese term coined by psychologist Tamaki Saitō to describe adolescents or adults who have withdrawn from society almost entirely.”
Video game addiction is still a controversial subject in mental health circles, but this Polygon feature looks at how games can be a major part of some mental health struggles — and how one clinic is helping people through those struggles.
Content warning: discussion of suicide.
“When I read today that Knott’s — in addition to two other theme parks owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company — had shut down a virtual reality attraction originally titled “Fear VR: 5150” due to complaints from concerned members of the community who feared it would contribute to mental health stigma, I couldn’t help connect it to my own personal experience. “5150,” for those unaware, is a reference to a section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code that authorizes any qualified officer or clinician to place a patient under involuntary psychiatric hold when they are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. My brother was placed under one twice.”
Given all the asylum funhouses and sexy mental patient costumes out there, it’s not surprising that Knott’s Scary Farm didn’t stop to think that its new attraction might bother people. As this HitFix article points out, though, widespread pushback against this sort of portrayal is quite new — even if you think it’s just one more example of “outrage culture.”
“While Atlanta is downright hilarious—I mean, who doesn’t know a friend who you would randomly ask to measure your tree?—it also tells stories that are often ignored and far too complicated to unpack within a 30-minute time slot.”
Donald Glover’s new show isn’t about mental health, but it offers an opening for important conversations on the subject, and Ebony runs with it here.
“It found that those on the combined pill were 23% more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant by their doctor, most commonly in the first six months after starting on the pill. Women on the progestin-only pills, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, were 34% more likely to take antidepressants or get a first diagnosis of depression than those not on hormonal contraception.”
The Guardian covers a huge Danish study that shows the correlative relationship between hormonal birth control and depression may be much more significant than we suspected — and more research is definitely required.
“[Being a community manager] requires a huge amount of empathy, so of course if you’re reading negativity day in and day out it’s difficult not to take at least some of that with you,” continues Whipple. “With enough experience you can kind of catch it before it gets bad and take a step back, but more than a couple times I found myself in really dark depressive states for quite a while just due to, essentially, surrounding myself for eight hours a day with people’s hate.”
Community managers so often stand between furious factions of an audience and the developers they’re angry with. In this excellent PC Gamer feature, we see how harmful the experience can be.
And with that, we’re off for the weekend. Halloween season has begun, and all of us at Take This are busy figuring out what our pets will be wearing on the 31st (No…? Just me, then…?). We’ll be back with more on mental health in the gaming community on Monday. Till then, take care of yourselves — and each other.