For 12-year-old Lily, gaming is a means of escape to a different world.
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 Lily, a 12-year-old artist who was part of the project.
How has gaming affected your mental health?
I started gaming around a month ago and it’s bought me so much joy. Gaming for me is a way to escape to a different world for a while but is also a way for me to connect with new people and make new friends.
I get anxious when it comes to talking to people. I can remember my first time going to a gaming club and I was so nervous and not in a good place mentally, but after attending the club for a short time, everything was a lot better. I became less anxious, and like I was a part of something and that I wasn’t alone. It also encouraged my creativity to share my ideas with others. It taught me important teamwork skills and loads of new games. Overall, gaming is where I can truly express myself and meet new people.
What inspired you to create this artwork?
The inspiration behind my artwork is that me, my dad and my brother used to play Pokémon Sword and Shield we called it poki-partying. It took place every Saturday. We would play and eat sweets and overall have a great time!
The colours were inspired by the different types of Pokémon. The character in my artwork is a fictional gym trainer (Fairy gym) – that’s why there’s a jiggly puff standing next to them. The reason my character has no face is because Pokémon is a game where you get to play as an anonymous player.
Playing with my family helped my mental health so much because it was a time I got to relax and talk with my dad and brother. My sketch was a school doodle that I transferred into Procreate to create my finished piece.
What message would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?
You can’t let people get to your feelings because if you do, they’ll drag you down with them. I’m not sure what else to say I’m not good with advice but there are lots of people out there willing to talk and most importantly listen with much better advice than I could ever give myself. At first, I was scared to reach out but once you do it gets so much easier from there.
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!