Gaming together for mental health


In this blog, Tom tells us about his love of gaming and the positive impact it has on his mental health. Tom is taking part in our Gaming Get Together virtual fundraising event. Feeling inspired? Sign up today.

I’ve been in love with computer games for 30 years since I first played Streetfighter 2 on my friends SNES when I was 12 years old. The excitement I felt sat with my friend on his living room carpet has never abated and games have been a large part of my life ever since. Through games I’ve been an exploring spaceman, a world champion boxer, a master war strategist, a plumber with a mushroom fixation and many other characters too numerous to mention. It’s a games ability to immerse you in other worlds where you are in control that, for me, makes it stand tall above other media like film. No matter if you’re bored, lonely, sad, angry or whatever challenges you face, games are a great way to put your real world problems to one side and immerse yourself in an adventure of pure fantasy. Since the dawn of online gaming it’s also been a great way to socialise with friends and this was particularly critical to me during covid as it gave my friends and I a space to socialise and have fun together safely while breaking the monotony of lockdown.

"When I heard Rethink Mental Illness was doing the Gaming Get Together I was keen to do my part as mental health is so important and effects everyone in one way or another. What better way to raise money for such a great cause than using a platform that encourages exploration, escape and social interaction for people of all ages?"

For my part I will be streaming myself for 12 hours playing my favourite game, a rogue-lite dungeon crawler game called The Binding of Isaac. The game is widely considered to be one of the hardest ever created and follows the story of a young boy who struggles with his mental health as he tries to escape the confines of his house and his own mind. I’ve played Isaac for 8 years now and am still nowhere near completing it, but I have developed an in-depth knowledge of the game and I’ve played it so much it’s almost like meditation for me when I play now, my calm space! I look forward to sharing this game with my children and friends who will be dropping in throughout the day to play with me.

No matter who you are, mental health is a cause we can all relate to, so I hope as many people as possible support Rethink Mental Illness and join in the Gaming Get Together as games are for everyone, not just ultra-nerds like me!

Are you a keen gamer and would like to help us raise vital funds to support people affected by mental illness? Why not sign up to our Gaming Together fundriaiser!