Never Give In: Artist Exclusive With Jacob O’Mara

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Jacob, who’s 11, says that creating different worlds helps him to get rid of negative thoughts and he feels able to approach life’s worries after playing video games.

This article is part of the Never Give In campaign, where 21 young Cardiffians were commissioned to create a piece of art showing how gaming affects their mental health. This is the story of Jacob, an 11-year-old artist who was part of the project.

How has gaming affected your mental health? 

Gaming has helped me when I have been going through tough times at home and at school. My parents have recently split up causing me a lot of anxiety and depression. Logging onto a game is like my form of meditation. It gives me a break from real life which I find difficult to do normally. It relaxes me and takes the anxious edge off my brain. It gives me positive vibes as when I game, I produce the happiness chemicals in my brain. Very scientific!  

Overall, I absolutely love gaming and all of the adventurous exciting games out there. I don’t think I would have been able to cope with my life struggles without having the access to gaming. It has been a very good coping mechanism for me. If you choose the right game for the right mood you are in, then you can come out the other end feeling very positive, confident, and in a much better state of mind than before. 

What inspired you to create this artwork?

When I go online, if am feeling down, my aim is to be cut off from the real world. Sometimes life can be tough. Sometimes all you need is just to get away from what is bothering you. Whether it’s playing with other kids to socialise or creating a new animated life with all the things that make you happy.

I enjoy creating different worlds all for myself which doesn’t involve the daily stresses I can sometimes be worried by. I can be a different person. I can build what my brain wants to see and think about. It gives me focus. ‘My Happy Place’ speaks for itself. I can give myself a different view of life and remove my negative thoughts or worries. I can create a place that is exactly where I want it to be. It makes me appreciate all the happy things I have to be grateful in life for. Before I know it, my life’s worries tend to be more approachable.

What message would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?

I would definitely advise anyone to just talk. Talking is the best form of help anyone can get as it means you are not alone with your feelings. Sharing how you feel can also help to rationalise things in your head and can make you realise that things may not be as bad as they seem.

Take care of your well-being; do things for yourself that make you happy and that you enjoy. Take time out of the chaos, give yourself a break.

To find out more about the Never Give In campaign and see the incredible artwork from all of the other artists, click HERE.

Struggling with your mental health? Check out TheSprout’s Mental Health Information Page where you can find loads of local and national support services.

If you’re sharing our posts from the Never Give In campaign on social media, remember to use the #PositiveMentalGaming hashtag. Feel free to tag us so we can see what you’re sharing!

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