I don’t know about you, but my entire facebook and twitter feed is swamped in Pokémon Go – memes, pictures, anecdotes…everything. The world has once again gone Pokémon mad. Yet another video game dedicated to the pokémon universe. However this one, so anecdotal reports seem to suggest, is having positive effects on peoples mental health.
Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past week, you’d have heard of Pokémon Go. It’s an app on smartphones that allows for the combination of the Pokémon universe with the individuals surroundings in a game similar to geocaching – allowing for the gamer to explore their own environment in order to find and catch Pokémon.
Video games are usually (rightly or wrongly) associated with aspects of laziness, geekiness, and a general apathetic attitude towards real life. However, Pokémon Go requires it’s users to get up off the sofa and out into the read world (you know, the one outside your bedroom door, away from the TV screen. Yeah, it exists.)
This aspect of the game has encouraged it’s users to walk miles, with one user reporting that in two days he had walked over 35’000 steps because of playing Pokémon Go – the recommended amout of steps to walk in one day is roungly 10’000 so this champ is going above and beyond.
On top of this obvious benefit, it also allows it’s users to go out and get fresh air, and exposes them to the beauty of nature which, alongside physical exercise, has been proven to be beneficial to not only physical but also mental health.
Furthermore, users of the game have reported that pokémon Go has given those with severe mental health struggled (agoraphobia, anxiety, depression) reasons to not only get out of bed in the morning, but to leave the house – which for many is a massive achievement. It also gives individuals a reason to socialise in a fun and relaxed way which is usually an effort and an excessive challenge for those with mental health problems. Additionally, the game gives it’s users a feeling of achievement if they manage to find and catch Pokémon on top of the already mentioned benefits. It has been anecdotally reported by it’s users (via twitter), that the game has given them a sense of purpose and a reason to get out of bed and get ready in the day.
For me, who has never exactly been a huge Pokémon or gaming fan, this news just brings a little smile to my face.
Not only are people being able to interact with their favourite childhood 90s franchise, but they are receiving more health benefits than they are probably aware of. Conclusively, Pokémon Go is giving those who struggle with their mental health a little bit of meaning to their lives, any anything that gives both physical and mental health boosts and is fun is a good thing in my books.