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Communications Games

Anxiety Gaming Wants To Offer Mental Help Via Game Console 63

An Ominous Cow Erred writes "In an odd approach to reaching out to otherwise shut-in sufferers of mental distress, an organization called Anxiety Gaming is betting that online intervention is the best way to reach people with emotional difficulties. Their argument is that the social nature of modern gaming makes it a valid means of reaching people who might not otherwise seek help through more traditional channels. According to their Facebook page, their future intentions seem to include distributing consoles to homes for foster youth, to encourage them to look to games for positival interpersonal communication."
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Anxiety Gaming Wants To Offer Mental Help Via Game Console

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @06:19AM (#44027321)

    "Of course these people should be offered all the help they can get. Of course!"

    "But MAYBE if they have so much trouble walking as part of a highly mobile species, they should be ignored and allowed to die out."

    -- Stephen Hawking

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday June 17, 2013 @06:35AM (#44027393) Journal

    as part of a highly social species

    Just because most members of the species are highly social doesn't mean that all of them have to be, or that it's bad when an individual is not.

    I'm sure that there are peppy-people-person guidance counselors who haven' gotten the memo yet; but the criteria(or at least criteria for intervention) for most psych disorders includes '*whatever symptoms* are present and cause the patient significant trouble or distress'. Starting "Operation Afflict The Solitary" purely because Being Social Is Good! is pointless and unethical norm-imposition.

    Providing a means by which the lonely-but-socially-anxious can acclimatize themselves, by contrast, would certainly be a good thing, even better if it can be done by means that are cheaper, easier to distribute, and lower-stigma than psychologists/psychiatrists.

    I'd be a bit sceptical as to whether present-day retail-ready tech is good enough at reading and displaying things like facial nuance that(much to my vexation) are vital to in-person communication; but if they are, this seems like a good thing.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday June 17, 2013 @06:54AM (#44027445)

    And it's that latter part, i.e. "and causes the patient significant trouble or distress" that is very often overlooked, especially in kids.

    I really wonder how many of our kids that "need" some kind of psychoactive drug would be perfectly happy without.

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday June 17, 2013 @06:56AM (#44027449) Homepage

    "Give kids toys and they're happier for 5 minutes".

    But I'm afraid that kids who have deep seating anxiety or other mental health issues need help thats a bit deeper than this well meaning but rather naive approach.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday June 17, 2013 @06:57AM (#44027453)

    I'm not so sure whether it really is a good idea to beef up some anti-social lonewolves before sending them out against the rest of humanity...

  • by TemperedAlchemist ( 2045966 ) on Monday June 17, 2013 @08:22AM (#44027775)

    It's wonderful being normal, isn't it?

    One of the kinds of deep running insanities inside of me is called social anxiety (SA, for short). It's a very debilitating demon that's very nature prevents you from going out and getting the help so desperately require (not that the help is going to be terribly effective, SSRIs are a lackluster treatment, tbh).

    One of the things that people like me (but not necessarily me) take offense to is normal people equating their petty little social insecurities with our living hell. So while it may be true you need to have the will to change to really get better (always good advice), I cannot help but laugh at your ignorance. If it were really as easy as a bit of bulking I'd imagine SA to be one of the rarer mental illnesses rather than being stuck in the top five. And yes, attractive people have it to.

    If you want to play the comparison game, your discomfort is a small hill, and ours is a mountain.

    I think one of the best things to do is offer your condolences without saying you understand, because you don't. You can't possibly understand the sheer unimaginable terror that runs through our heads and drives many of us to suicide.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 17, 2013 @09:27AM (#44028307)

    I had a very bad day recently. Nothing special happened to me, it was just one of those days where you run out of strength to keep yourself together.

    I sat down and wrote some text that took me almost 5 hours to write - detailing my experiences with SA. I thought of posting it anonymously somewhere but anxiety took over and I didn't. I'll bite the bullet this time.

    Here's an excerpt:

    I went to get a university degree, left home and started living as a student. Without my parents or any friends I was left completely on my own. The new city I moved to was larger and it's streets more crowded. I had no way to avoid people now and anxiety was a constant every time I left my student home. I could no longer go into shops or restaurants or school for that matter without experiencing fear. The terror that was once limited to passing people on the street was seeping into all other aspects of my life.

    It's hard to explain the intense fear but imagine you have been detained and sentenced to death by a firing squad. They come for you in your cell and are now dragging you to get shot. That's the anxiety mixed with anticipation of what will or might happen next. It's the moments before social interaction. Then they put you in front of men with guns pointing at you. If you can imagine that fear, that's the fear I felt. Or if you fear heights. It's being held over a brim of a cliff and being thrown over it.

    At that point your mind is like a swarm of bees. So noisy. You feel like you're in mortal danger and all you can think of is get out. Your mind is racing to find a way to run, but there is no escape. If you move, if you run - they'll shoot you - and in the real world you'll embarrass yourself even more, looking like a lunatic (Don't lose control!). But your mind doesn't accept that answer and doesn't want to give up, you see there has to be a solution to this problem and being that the danger is eminent, finding the solution is most urgent. You are buzzing with countless thoughts that aren't discernible, it's like running full speed in empty gear.

    Then there are the physical changes. Blurred vision, uneasiness, feeling like you'll faint. Blood leaves your extremities and you become even more pale than usual. You feel extremely vulnerable.

    Overwhelmed with this you need to find the strength to hold back the instinct to run and form coherent thoughts through all that noise to deal with what ever social situation you got yourself into. Often it's hard o not simply shutdown.

    There were good days where I had enough strength to carry me through the day, then there were the bad days. I ran out of food one day and would have to go to the supermarket. I dreaded it so much I stayed in my room for the whole day. Starving. It wasn't an isolated occurrence.

    To explain, going to the shop wasn't a problem - assuming I wouldn't meet anyone on the way, which might be possible considering it was 50 meters away at most. Interacting with the cashier and possibly other personnel was the terrifying part.

    The constant anxiety becomes unbearable. To the point where you start to fear fear itself. You feel anxiety over feeling anxiety in a future circumstance. And what happens often is you start avoiding situations that repeatedly lead you to feel anxiety.

    You build this prison for yourself. Meeting people makes you feel anxious? Not going to meet people anymore. Going shopping strikes fear into you, yeah who needs it anyway. School, doctor's appointments, visiting your professors at office hours, phone calls, going to the bank to pay your bills... Yeah. Pretty soon the only place you feel comfortable anymore is a dark corner in your room.

    Then there's the depression. Anxiety never comes alone. It's followed by an equal measure of depression. When social interaction becomes something you fear the most you deprive yourself of the outside world as much as you can. That leads to depression. You realize just how broken you are. What comes easy to others to the point that they don't even give it a thought - can take sometimes days of mental preparation for you. Suicidal thoughts are a daily occurrence.

    The rest is not important...

Some people manage by the book, even though they don't know who wrote the book or even what book.