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Why gaming is better for your mental health than you might think

Published on
23 April 2021

At Barnardo’s, we believe that talking about mental health and the things in our daily lives that can affect it is really important, and we want to help kick-start those conversations. In this blog, we discuss the benefits that gaming and streaming can have on people’s mental health.

A young girl smiling and looking at her laptop

Are video games good for your mental health?

In 2020, research conducted by the University of Oxford found that playing video games may improve your mental health and make you happier. Whilst excessive gaming can certainly be harmful, we wanted to shine a light on the benefits that gaming, and streaming, can have on people’s mental health and wellbeing... 

Video games lead to healthy brain stimulation 

In other words, playing video games forces gamers to deeply stimulate multiple different areas of their brain, which leads to the development of a large handful of various beneficial tasks and dimensions of thinking. 

Playing video games can help relieve stress

We all enjoy different ways of winding down, and, for many people, immersing themselves in a game is a great way of coping with, and gaining some perspective on, the stresses of daily life. 

Gaming and streaming are effective ways to combat loneliness

The rise of streaming platforms and multi-player experiences online has given way to a new form of socialising, in which players work together to solve problems.  This can help people overcome feelings of loneliness and feel part of a genuinely supportive community. 

Video games can help people develop coping mechanisms for difficult situations

Learning ways to overcome in-game challenges can make gamers better equipped to deal with real-life obstacles and difficulties. 

Gaming and streaming are great ways for people to express their true selves

Online streaming platforms can be a safe space for streamers and gamers to share who they really are, in a supportive, tight-knit environment. 

Like all things it's about moderation. Excessive gaming can take a toll on your mental and physical health just like how too much running can lead to joint problems and impact injuries. Done in moderation it is something that can still be beneficial for you and can do great things for your mental wellbeing. Got questions about gaming and why we're promoting it? Check out our FAQs

Learn more about how we use a game called Pesky gNATs as part of ongoing programme of blended approaches to tackling poor mental health. 

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