Pokémon Go is helping people cope with their mental health issues

This article was posted on 15 August 2016

Posted in Health Cover


Pokémon Go was released recently, and it is ruling the lives of many users. The good news is that it proves to be helping people who suffer from various mental health issues cope better.


What is Pokémon Go?

Nintendo released the Pokémon Go application for iPhone in Asia and Australia about a month and a half ago, after which it was introduced to the U.S. The infamous app it still unavailable in several other countries but it didn’t take too long for South Africa, to jump onto the Pokémon craze bandwagon.

Various social media users has harshly criticized the app, calling it “a waste of time” and a “ridiculous and silly obsession” but little do they know that the emergence of this app is actually helping plenty of people living with various mental disorders such as anxiety, depression and agoraphobia (the fear of public or and or open spaces.


The app explained

The application allows the user to interact with and “catch” Pokémon in what is referred to as an augmented reality, via GPS which is integrated into your “real-world view” via your phone’s camera. Players are spurred on to walk around their neighbourhoods to catch numerous Pokémon. The application is set up in such a way that the type of Pokémon that you hunt for is more likely to be found at a location habitual for their type. I.e. you’d be more likely to find a Squirtle where there is a vast amount of water for instance a dam or river.


The experts say…

Although the idea may seem bizarre to some, many players have admitted that this game has done wonders for their mental health.

Psychologist John M. Grohol reports on PsychCentral.com, “It appears that Pokémon Go is motivating users to get up and out of the house - something that's often a struggle for people suffering from depression or anxiety.”


Here are just a few of the hundreds and thousands of Tweets out there raving about the game


Brianna, 21, who has borderline personality disorder, depression and social anxiety, told BuzzFeed News that she spent an entire day walking about her city in Nova Scotia after Pokémon Go was released.

“Dealing with depression, it’s often really hard to find a reason to leave bed, or even home,” she said. “I was in a really bad low before I got the app. And I wouldn’t say it’s changed that completely, but it’s kept me busy, and given me a lot of motivation. Pokémon was a huge part of my childhood and since the app came out it’s given me a great reason to get up and go. I think it’s awesome that the app forces you to get out if you really want to play to the full extent. I find it’s even helped me get things done, because it’s way more enticing to go do my errands AND catch Pokémon/hatch eggs.”


So it appears that this “ridiculous” game is not all that bad after all, here’s the proof that it legitimately is helping hundreds of people cope with their mental health issues.




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