Connecting mental health with games in innovative worlds and ways
MENTAL HEALTH AND GAMES
Games are the cultural competency of the 21st century, and more mental health providers than ever are in need of resources, training, and support in this area. The Mental Health Professionals Hub offers tools and resources for mental health providers that support strengths-based mental health outcomes through gameplay.
Our mental health initiatives are designed to build social and emotional skills as well as reduce the barriers to treatment for teens. We research, design, and create Clinician Guides which are a one-page tip sheet that breaks down popular video games in order to enhance rapport and pursue treatment goals.
For the more adventurous mental health provider, we have the Critical Strengths Engine, a pen-and-paper role-playing rulebook for facilitating therapeutically-minded tabletop role-playing sessions. Outside the therapy room, we provide education to providers through our mental health blog series, iThrive’s peer-reviewed journal Games, Self, and Society, and through presentations and workshops.
We research, study, and embed evidence-based practices — preventative and therapeutic — into tools, programs, and readily accessible, immersive games. iThrive consults with game developers and mental health professionals to create resources that support the use of games in therapeutic contexts.
Read about mental health games and our in-production game to support teens in managing anxiety in this recent New York Times feature. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date with the production of the Anxiety Game and its release.
Saw us on Extra Credits? Co-authored by our our director of mental health research and d
WHERE TO START
Video games are rich, immersive, engaging, and motivating — and they’re where people increasingly spend their time. Browse these highlights for an overview of how clinicians can connect with clients with games as the medium.
iThrive’s resources support mental health and social and emotional learning by choosing meaningful games for therapeutic benefit and highlighting how those games facilitate social and emotional growth. Learn more below.
A scientific paper discussing the portrayal of mental illness in games.
iThrive and our mental health partners explore how games open up new opportunities for connecting with clients and provide expert tips for exploring mental health and games.
At the core of our work at iThrive Games is our belief that solutions to social challenges lie with the people who experience them firsthand. That is why we are fiercely committed to co-designing with teens. We recognize the brilliance of the teenage mind and the...
Mental Health Awareness Month takes place each year during the month of May. Established in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month was created to increase awareness around mental health and mental wellness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that 60...
Games are a 21st-century cultural competency. Over half the U.S. population and up to 97% of U.S. teens play video games on a regular basis. Games play an important role in how teens socialize. Games foster connections between friends, offering a space for hanging out...
Video games frequently portray characters as having a mental illness but there’s little research around those portrayals. This month, we are honored to report that Kelli Dunlap, PsyD, our director of mental health research and design, partnered with Extra Credits to...
If you are experiencing a crisis or having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, or visit the nearest emergency room.Suicide is a growing public health...
Kelli Dunlap is the director of mental health research and design at iThrive Games. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and directs iThrive's mental health and game development initiatives. On Tuesday, February 12, games publisher Activision stated it would...