Pokemon Go Can Help Mental Illness Recovery

July 18, 2016 Becky Oberg

Pokemon Go can help with mental illness recovery. Unless you've been living under a Kabuto the past few weeks, you're aware that Pokemon Go has gone viral (How a Video Game Gave Me My Life Back). But did you know Pokemon Go can help with mental illness recovery? Here are three ways Pokemon Go can help with mental illness recovery.

Pokemon Go and Mental Illness Recovery: Getting Out of the House quotes several mental health consumers, but the most poignant quote comes from a veteran with posttraumatic stress disorder:

I'm a vet with PTSD, the last three years leaving my yard was a chore. Today I took my kid to park and talked to 20 random strangers. Thank you Nintendo!

Can Pokemon Go help you recover from mental illness? Yes! How can a video game aid mental illness recovery? Read this.One thing that Pokemon Go is known for is getting you up and about. I'm playing it and have noticed it helps me socialize, gets me out of my apartment and enjoying fresh air and sunshine, helps me exercise, and gives me something to look forward to when I get up in the morning. All of these things are difficult for me as a person with mental illness. But now, rather than moping around my apartment, I go out and meet other people. I spend time outside walking around and learning more about the city I love.

A person with depression has to have something to look forward to. I now have Pokemon Go. It gives me a challenge (does anyone know where to catch a Geodude in Indianapolis?), it gives me something to talk about with other people, and it's fun. I'm enjoying myself. And for a person with multiple mental illnesses such as myself, that's crucial to recovery.

Pokemon Go and Mental Illness Recovery: Getting Exercise

Exercise has proven mental health benefits. According to the Huffington Post, the mental health benefits of exercise include:

  1. Stress relief
  2. Boosting endorphins (the chemicals responsible for regulating mood)
  3. Improving self-confidence
  4. Improving self-esteem, especially when done outside
  5. Preventing cognitive decline
  6. Reducing anxiety
  7. Increasing the level of a protein believed to be responsible for higher mental functions
  8. Sharpening memory
  9. Helping control addiction
  10. Increasing relaxation
  11. Increasing energy level
  12. Boosting creativity
  13. Inspiring others (we perform better on aerobic tests when with a workout buddy)

Considering we're wandering around staring at our cell phones chasing fictional cartoon characters, that's a pretty impressive list of benefits.

Pokemon Go and Mental Illness Recovery: Helping You Socialize

Loneliness fuels depression. Pokemon Go helps my mental illness recovery by helping me socialize. When I'm out hunting and training, I often run into several other people staring at their phones. After greeting each other with "Pokemon?" we then talk about which team we're on (for the record I chose Team Instinct) and where to find rare Pokemon (I informed about a dozen players where to find a Dratini in downtown). The Pokemon Go community in Indianapolis even has a Facebook page where we plan meetups and share tips with each other.

Socializing with other people fights depression. It's hard to socialize when you're depressed, but Pokemon Go gives you something to talk about. This is good for people with social anxiety who fear they'll have nothing to say, and socializing with other people with the same interests helps get your mind out of the dangerous rut depression can send you into.

According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), socializing with friends is good for your mental health. It may even ward off dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

[Study] results showed that women with the larger social networks were 26 percent less likely to develop dementia than those with smaller social networks . . . and women who had daily contact with friends and family cut their risk of dementia by almost half.

But you don't have to be elderly to benefit. According to a study by the University of Minnesota, young adults who socialized and exercised regularly reported better mental health than those that didn't (Exercise and Your Mental Health). The experiment found that socializing was an important part of exercising.

Pokemon Go can help with mental illness recovery. With that said, I'm off to find a Pikachu.


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APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2016, July 18). Pokemon Go Can Help Mental Illness Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Becky Oberg

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