I’m Chris Leech, a PhD Psychology researcher looking at video games and student mental health. I’m also a person with Albinism, so I’m visually impaired/legally blind and have this awesome white hair/beard combo (it really is as soft as it looks!).
This is the story of how video games played a part in coping with my depression and grief in unexpected ways. They helped me deal with a number of things life threw at me, including the death of my father.
It starts when I was just a few years old playing Super Mario World. Then as I grew up games continued to be fun, something to pass the time, share conversations and community. They were a way to connect playing games with friends or even just playing the same single player game and taking turns.
But then, as I was in the first year of my degree when my father died and things started to fall apart. I found that games could also offer something else. I was experiencing grief, and depression and games helped me through that.
All it took was for a friend to introduce me to Depression Quest (which then led to Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Celeste, Please Knock on my Door, Actual Sunlight). I realised games could be more than compelling and relatable. They could be something that positively impacted my mental health.
This developed into something I realised I could study. So now I'm working on my PhD that looks at "The Impact of Games on Student Mental Health". I want to know what good, if any, games like the ones that have helped me could do for us as a society?
Improved mental health and on the road to completing a PhD studying the impact of video games on the mental health of students.
This outcome arises from the following 6 milestones over the span of 23 years, from 4 - 27 years-old: