Weekly INT Boost – Three Different Approaches to Mental Health In Games

Here's to a cozy weekend!

Here’s to a cozy weekend!

Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health articles you may have missed. This week, we have details about a new mental health initiative started by barbers, looks at Downfall and Persona 5, and a lot more.


A Major Update Relaxes Screen Time Rules for Some Kids

“For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics set a simple and clear ceiling: no more than two hours parked in front of the TV for any child over the age of two. But at its annual meeting in San Francisco on Friday, the group, acknowledging that some online media exposure can be beneficial, announced that it has radically revised its thinking on the subject.”

Are you a parent raising a young (or future) gamer? You should know that the AAP has recently revised its screen time recommendations. The Washington Post has some of the details, which include a reminder to co-view media with your kids. The AAP also released a customizable family media plan you can use to help set up healthy boundaries for your childrens’ gaming and other screen time.


‘Downfall’ Explores Depression, Bulimia, and Suicide Through Horror

Content Warning: Discussion of suicide, abuse and extreme violence.

“Downfall wants us to understand the anger of a husband who can’t stop his wife’s suicide, depression, or bulimia, though it also argues against making him the central focus of our attention. We can sympathize with his struggles, but he’s not the one that needs the most help.”

As part of its Indie Horror Month, Pop Matters looks at the sequel to The Cat Lady. Both games use horror to explore mental health in disturbing but not necessarily stigmatizing ways. If you can’t stomach playing horror games but want to know more, this article breaks down Downfall’s themes.


5 Topics Persona 5’s Social Links Should Cover

“Though Persona 3 revolved around suicide imagery, Persona has mostly only engaged with mental illness metaphorically. One of the scariest parts of mental illnesses for many people is the way it can seem to change who you are. Illnesses like depression or PTSD can feel like they’re taking over your personality.”

Paste makes an argument for why Persona 5 should tackle issues the series has only touched on in the past, and looks at how those portrayals could fit into Persona’s ongoing exploration of identity.


And Breathe: The Computer Games Helping Kids Relax

“Clipped to my earlobe is a tiny heart-rate monitor, linked to a Bluetooth device that is attached to my T-shirt. I’m here to try out what Fox and his colleagues have dubbed emotionally responsive gaming (ERG): computer games designed to increase players’ resilience to mental health problems by using biofeedback to monitor and reward their ability to remain calm under pressure.”

We talked about Champions of the Shengha briefly last week — The Guardian has now taken a more in-depth look at both the game and the company making it.


Meet the Barbers Fighting Male Depression

“We spoke to Tom Chapman founder of The Lions Barber Collective – an international group of barbers who help to raise awareness and prevent male depression, suicide, and other mental illnesses. The LBC aim to create training that will enable barbers to recognise, talk, and listen out for symptoms of depression. They safely signpost their clients when they are sat in the chair towards potential solutions. Considering research* suggests that British men more likely to discuss mental health issues with the people cutting their hair than their doctors, it’s clear he and his team on to a very good thing.”

Talking to a mental health professional is the best call when you need help, but for people who aren’t necessarily ready to admit they need help, this barbers’ collective is working to help them take the first steps. NetDoctor has more on their novel approach.



We’re off for the weekend (those of us who aren’t currently helping out at PAX Australia, that is), but we’ll be back on Monday with more great stories. Don’t forget to join our Habitica challenge for November, and let us know what you think about our new Pinny Arcade pins (we’ll don’t currently have more information about whether they’ll be available at future events, but we’ll let you know when we do!). Till Monday, take care of yourselves — and each other.