This is Solo, a right proper certified therapy dog belonging to Take This supporter Laura M. Good boy, Solo! Send photos of your awesome pet to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature them in a future roundup.
Welcome to our roundup of the best mental health-related stories you may have missed. This week, we have a different perspective on mentally ill villains, the personal benefits of violent video games, and a lot more.
“I didn’t want to stop there. The calm feeling I had when playing video games and the release I felt was intoxicating. The weird worries I had in my brain weren’t there anymore. I focused on the mission at hand and not on the fear of being sick, or people not liking me, or people talking behind my back, or the world judging me. I was just a person trying to do the right thing, and that happened to be violently killing all the bad guys.”
Writing for The Mary Sue, Cassie De Almo shares a personal take on violent video games, and the commenters chime in with their own anxiety-diminishing games.
“The hypnotic trance kids enter when they’re staring at an iPad isn’t just for on-demand quiet time in restaurants or cars. Turns out, the smart tablets are so effective at zoning out kids, they work just as well as sedatives to quell anxiety before surgery.”
Speaking of the anxiety-calming effects of games, imagine how much easier pre-op nerves would be if you could hang on to your phone or iPad. Mobi Health News covers a study that let kids do just that.
“Seeing myself in Lex Luthor, I don’t have to feel alone. And seeing myself in Lex Luthor, I can look at myself more critically. That secondhand embarrassment I feel when Lex has a minor breakdown onstage at his party? I feel it because I’ve done that.”
Positive representation is important, but this ComiConverse article explores how even villains be helpful if they’re created with care and compassion.
“I do not believe the intent of the distributor makes a difference in how traumatic the viewer’s response is,” Dr. Dion Metzger, a psychiatrist with an expertise in PTSD and trauma from mass media told VICE. “The level of trauma is based on the content of the video and also heightened if the viewer identifies with the victim.”
When I was younger, people would talk in hushed tones about videos that supposedly showed real deaths – now it’s hard to keep them from auto-playing on our social feeds. VICE talks to a psychiatrist about the impact that can have on our mental health.
“In the early 2000s, literature emerged showing that if you brought young people who played first-person shooter and action video games into a laboratory and studied their cognitive abilities, especially cognitive control—attention, selective attention, resisting distraction, and task switching—they were superior to their peers who did not play games. If you took naive younger adults and had them play, they also started showing improvements in these areas. These are the same abilities that we see declining with aging.”
If you have a few minutes, Medscape’s interview with neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, MD, PhD, is a fascinating look at the current state of video games in mental health research.
And with that, we’re done for the week. If you’re gearing up for PAX Australia in a couple months, let us know – we’re looking for a few people to join our wonderful group of volunteers. We’ll be back next week, and in the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other. You don’t have to go alone.