16-year-old Nalani shares how gaming has been a form of escape from the pressures of reality, and how that’s beneficial for her mental health.
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 Nalani, a 16-year-old artist who was part of the project.
How has gaming affected your mental health?
Gaming for me has been a form of escape from all the things that go on in my life. It lets me escape from my own mind and thoughts and just makes me feel good. It allows me and many others to be someone or somewhere else, and that’s why gaming has a great effect on my mental health.
Games like animal crossing are good for when I just need to relax and calm me down if I’ve had a bad day or if my seizures have tired me out. And games like Danganronpa, Hatsune Miku: Project Diva, and Cuphead are the sorts of games I play if I’m struggling quite bad mentally and I need something fast-paced to get me through the day.
I have a Nintendo Switch, Nintendo DS 2XL and a PS vita because I find refuge in the gaming world. It’s always there for me whenever I need it and it gives me a chance to socialise with people from around the world.
What inspired you to create this artwork?
I wanted to create a piece that reflected my love for games and the importance of good mental health to me and to hopefully get that message across to others.
We live in an age where speaking up on mental health issues has never been more important and welcomed. I want to show young people that we also have a voice and that gaming could be their escape from everything going on. Games can unlock a new side to themselves where you can be whoever and whatever you want.
I think games can genuinely improve mental health because it’s unlike reality; you can get away from your brain in the gaming world. A whole other universe of weird and wonderful things open up when you play games and I really want to inform others that gaming is always a possibility if they need to get out of their own minds.
What message would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?
It’s okay. You’ll be okay. No matter what is going on and what your brain is telling you, everything’s going to be alright.
You’re strong and you’re brave and I’m so glad that you’re here. You are loved and you are an inspiration so don’t ever forget that. You are you and that’s what makes you amazing.
You will overcome everything that’s going on, and you’ll come out the other side 10x stronger than before, I promise.
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!