In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, Xbox is amplifying the voices of empathy, honesty, and mental health awareness. Today more than ever, people face new challenges that affect their mental health. With the ongoing pandemic, physical isolation has increased the importance of virtual connections for keeping in touch with friends and loved ones. Through play, we can explore both mental health and its effects and create community. Increasingly Studies* have shown that gaming has real benefits for players’ mental wellbeing. Through a virtual world, people were able to do everything from relieving their PTSD symptoms, to building social connections that are so important right now, to having moments of joy, connecting, promoting empathy, and diminishing Anxiety.
For me personally, gaming is an important part of my psychological routine. When I have to distance myself from the world and limit myself to things that could trigger a PTSD episode, gambling is my escape. It gives me something to focus on and a way to pass on potentially destructive energy that I may have. It’s even a place where I can explore complex issues in an environment and know that everything will be fine no matter what happens in the real world. And you don’t have to trust me, lots of other players talk about the positive effects of games they are experiencing.
An Xbox study conducted by Xbox Research, a group of gamers with disabilities, as part of the community accessibility feedback program found that 84% of respondents felt that gaming had a largely positive impact on their lives during the pandemic had mental health. Other community members shared that gaming is a great distraction from stress (82.9%), emotional stress (63.5%), and physical pain (38.6%), and that gaming gives them more control than you do real life (54.1%) that people who participated in this study use games to improve their lives in a variety of ways.
Particularly relevant to the pandemic, 71.7% of respondents in the study felt that gaming helped them feel less isolated and showed how gaming helped them maintain connections with family and friends during difficult times . The study also showed that 71.7% of participants felt that playing video games was an important part of their daily routine during the pandemic.
We know that video games can bring connection and joy to so many people. From January to March of this year, over 11 billion multiplayer game sessions were played worldwide, and over 3 billion game invitations were sent in the same period.
Xbox aims to deliver immersive gaming experiences that are ideal for entering different worlds outside of our everyday lives. We know that mental health problems have worsened during the pandemic and that people need to connect more than ever. We invite our community to play safely and communicate with others who may be participating in the same challenges.
Ninja theory / Hellblade and psychonauts 2.
In a world where mental health is more of a societal priority, Team Xbox strives to create and deliver the most immersive, fun gaming experiences that invite all gamers to explore exciting new worlds and embody incredible characters. Two of our Xbox Game Studios teams, Double Fine Productions and Ninja Theory, explore mental health through unique gameplay.
Hellblade: Senua’s victim The company received critical acclaim in 2017 and received great praise for the way it portrays mental illness, and in particular psychosis. Hellblade is both a dark fantasy title that tells the story of a Celtic warrior’s journey to Hel and an exploration of the psychosis experienced by the protagonist Senua. Dominic Matthews, Studio Manager at Ninja Theory, said, “It was critical that our exploration of this subject was research based, and as such our development team worked closely with those in both academia and the lived experience community. This has turned into a creative partnership where our designers, artists, and the audio team work closely with ndollarscientists and people who live with experiences in hearing voices, seeing visions, and living in unique beliefs. We are incredibly proud of the reception Hellblade received from fans and heard about how they really made an impact on their lives – both to educate them about their experiences with severe mental health issues and to provide a platform for them to talk about their own experiences. Exploring the true potential of games to help people manage their sanity has become part of our mission at Ninja Theory that manifests itself in the Insight Project. Our goal is to create a powerful tool that people can use to understand and support their spiritual wellbeing. “
Double fine Psychonauts 2 tells the story of Razputin “Raz” Aquato, a trained acrobat, powerful young clairvoyant and new member of the international organization for psychological espionage known as psychonauts. With his psychic abilities, Raz can immerse himself in people’s thoughts, where he experiences things from their perspective and fights with their inner demons. While it’s primarily a fun and carefree game, there are some deeper aspects, and Raz explores the minds of people suffering from addiction and depression. “One thing about mental health is that many people have experienced it or with someone in their life that many of us are familiar with.” says Tim Schafer, founder of Double Fine. “We wanted to approach the subject with care and concern to make sure the game was fun while we talked to those who may have been through some of the things we talk about. ”
This story on the Microsoft Blog reveals more of Dominic Matthews and Tim Schafer, and examines the real-life stories from our Xbox ambassadors and the wider community about their personal experiences of how gaming has positively impacted their mental health. Read it here.
Online Safety: Xbox connects players using the Crisis Text Line
By Athima Chansanchai, Microsoft Stories
Every day people come to Xbox to play, have fun, relax, and take care of themselves to relieve stress. Sometimes they need someone to take them from a “hot” moment to a calmer state. Thanks to Xbox’s partnership with Crisis Text Line, they can access a mental health resource whenever they need it. Every month, Xbox refers people to this nonprofit that provides free, 24/7 text-based support and connects those in need with a network of 27,000 trained, volunteer crisis counselors across the United States. The New York-based organization helps to create bespoke safety plans and de-escalate situations through a platform – SMS – that makes it easier to reach people of all ages safely. The full story and resources can be found here.
In May, the following ways Xbox can promote and support mental health awareness are as follows:
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards
Microsoft Rewards members in the US can earn points and donate to organizations that support mental health awareness on Xbox. All Microsoft Rewards donations to the organizations listed below will be matched by Microsoft during the month of May.
- take that: – Take This’ mission is to reduce stigma and increase mental health support in the gaming fan community and industry.
- checkpoint: CheckPoint provides mental health resources for gamers and the gaming community. Their job is to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma, and improve well-being in our community. Checkpoint is passionate about using video games for positive well-being and resilience.
US Xbox players can earn Microsoft Rewards points in a number of ways, including: B. When playing or buying games after downloading the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox. Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join today and donate via Xbox.
Xbox Game Pass: Spotlight on Mental Health Awareness
In May Xbox Game Pass highlights a selection of games selected by the gaming and disability community at Microsoft that raise awareness of mental health and accessibility issues.
featured games selected by our Gaming and Disability Community:
- Hellblade: Senua’s victim – – In the Viking Age, a broken Celtic warrior begins a haunting vision in Viking Hell to fight for the soul of her dead lover. Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was developed in collaboration with ndollarscientists and people with psychosis and will pull you deep into Senua’s mind.
- Sea of solitude (Electronic Art / Jo-Mei GmbH) A When people get too lonely, they turn into monsters … Sea of Solitude takes you on a personal journey through the loneliness of a young woman. Set sail through a beautiful and evolving world where nothing is what it seems. Meet fantastic creatures and monsters, learn their stories and solve challenges. Explore a flooded city either by boat, on foot, or by swimming through the water. Dare to see what lies beneath the surface and discover what it really means to be human in a haunted battle of darkness and light. Members can play Sea of solitude Now with EA Play, included as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate and Xbox Game Pass for PC Benefits.
- Celeste (Matt makes games) Help Madeline survive her inner demons on her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain in this super tight, handcrafted platformer from the creators of the multiplayer classic TowerFall.
Be one of the first to play the latest titles from Xbox Game Studios and ID @ Xbox, available to Xbox Game Pass members on the same day as their global release. Join the Xbox Game Pass.
Xbox will be launching live streaming mental health and gaming content the week of May 17th. Learn with us from game developers and nonprofits involved in gaming and mental health.
Play. Connect. A hit: Learn more about what Xbox is doing to raise awareness and support mental health issues Xbox Community Hub.