Many have found video games therapeutic in fighting depression, and in Japan, an entrepreneur is using gaming to help people.

As Next Shark reports, “Ayako Shimizu wanted to help fight depression when she saw how it was dealt with more openly in other countries, where in Japan, there’s the stigma around mental health and it’s not talked about openly.

Shimizu learned about SPARX, a game developed in Auckland New Zealand, and the name is an acronym for Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, X-factor thoughts.

Shimizu added, “I was studying cognitive-behavioral therapy at university and knew it was a highly reliable approach. But in Japan, many people with depression had heard of CBT but didn’t know where to go to receive a session. I thought the game was a perfect way to introduce CBT to people who were interested but were stills cared of undergoing it face-to-face.”

Gaming could indeed go a long way in helping people and could make people more open to seeking help. Shimizu said, “When a counselor tells you in person, ‘Let’s be hopeful,’ it doesn’t quite sink in for many people. But if a character in a fantasy world that you trust says this, it can convince you.”


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