Engaging, intelligent and challenging video games have vastly developed since the initial arcade gaming titles in the 1970’s. In this time, many gaming assumptions and perceptions of gamers have come to light. Unsurprisingly, the majority of gaming research conducted has focused primarily on the ‘negative’ impacts.

However, there has been a greater focus on the positivity of gameplay in recent years. In honour of World Mental Health Day, it is important to be aware of the benefits of video games. In fact, research has highlighted that gaming can improve an individual’s mental health and general well-being.

A study conducted by East Carolina University suggested that video games may be able to treat depression and anxiety through just thirty minutes of gameplay.

Interestingly, puzzle games such as Bejeweled and Angry Birds, seem to have the capability to alleviate symptoms of depression when compared to other gaming genres.

Furthermore, video games can encourage social interaction, with many games now supporting multiplayer experiences, aiding teamwork during competitive gameplay and connecting individuals worldwide.

Ultimately, using video games as a form of therapy for mental health is not new or uncommon. At the same time, it’s quite possible that excessive gameplay, as with any hobby, can become unhealthy. But, gaming is an engaging and social form of entertainment that can be beneficial, encouraging salubrious stimulation whilst supporting mental health.