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.
iThrive co-designs games with teens, educators, mental health experts, and professional game developers to discover how play and design can empower teens to thrive. But why do we care about teens? First of all, we know teens face tremendous pressures. Just a few of...
The first weekend of October, iThrive staff made their way to Montréal, Canada to co-host the JamNATION game jam. The jam was the perfect opportunity to test two shiny new Design Kits we developed with expert devs and scholars at this fall’s iThrive Design Hive:...
At GenCon earlier this month, we were delighted to announce our Critical Strengths Engine. Critical Strengths is a tabletop role-playing game (RPG) engine -- or ruleset with which to play tabletop RPGs -- that applies the science of empathy and kindness to exploring...
Journal of Games, Self, & Society (JGSS) is a peer-reviewed journal created and edited by iThrive Games and published by ETC Press. The goal of JGSS is to encourage interdisciplinary research, conversation, and community around games-related scholarship. The...
[Content Note: Description of trauma, sexual assault] Jane (not her real name) was a 13-year-old girl referred to me after being groped multiple times by random peers in the hall at school while visiting her locker between classes. As a result of Jane’s traumatic...
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s talk about how mental illness is represented in video games and why that should change. About a quarter of commercially released video games include characters with symptoms of a mental illness. Too often, these...