Mental Health Support
31 Mar 2021

A recent study published in Psychological Medicine has shown a correlation between boys as young as eleven partaking in video games and lower risks of depression symptoms.

PhD student Aaron Kandola (UCL Psychiatry) has been quoted saying “While we cannot confirm whether playing video games actually improves mental health, it didn’t appear harmful in our study and may have some benefits. Particularly during the pandemic, video games have been an important social platform for young people.” when commenting on the study.

A UCL report stated that “While their study cannot confirm if the relationship is causal, the researchers say there are some positive aspects of video games which could support mental health, such as problem-solving, and social, cooperative and engaging elements.”.

They also commented on an increased risk of depressive symptoms in girls who use social media most days.

Senior author Dr Mats Hallgren (Karolinska Institutet) said “The relationship between screen time and mental health is complex, and we still need more research to help understand it… Our research points to possible benefits of screen time; however, we should still encourage young people to be physically active and to break up extended periods of sitting with light physical activity.”

Link to the study:

Prospective relationships of adolescents’ screen-based sedentary behaviour with depressive symptoms: the Millennium Cohort Study

More resources on the subject:

Boys who play video games have lower depression risk,was%20not%20found%20among%20girls

Video gaming can benefit mental health, find Oxford academics

Video Games Linked to Lower Depression Risk for Boys

Video games for de-stressing, relaxation and anxiety relief:

  • Animal Crossing: New horizons
  • Gris
  • Florence
  • Abzu
  • Monument Valley
  • Journey