Announcing the nomination period for the 2022 Dr. Mark Kline Award for Mental Health Representation in Games (AKA “The Dr. Mark Award”)! Named after Take This’ first clinical director, the Dr. Mark Award is awarded to one video game which represents excellence in compassionate, non-stigmatizing portrayals of mental health and mental health challenges.
Past Dr. Mark Award winners include Stardew Valley and Celeste. Stardew Valley compassionately depicted the mental health struggles of many of its non-player characters. As the player, you retained the option of interacting with all the NPCs in a manner which inspired hope and healing on their part. Celeste presents protagonist Madeline in her anxiety-provoking climb up an obstacle-ridden mountain while simultaneously coming to terms with her antagonistic alter ego Badeline.
Do you know a video game from the last two years that dealt with mental health themes in a way that was compassionate and non-stigmatizing? Great! Any commercially released video game from the 2020 and 2021 calendar year is eligible for this award, so long as it meets the following criteria:
- It had its first, English-language release during the 2020 or 2021 calendar years.
- It was fully released during the 2020 or 2021 calendar years.
- It does not need to be a “feel-good” story.
- The game takes care to portray mental health challenges in a compassionate manner which does not reinforce harmful stereotypes.
The nomination form can be found here. Nominations will be open until 11:59pm Pacific time, May 31, 2020, and the winner will be announced at an event held during PAX West in September 2022.