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The escalating youth mental health crisis demands immediate attention and innovative approaches to support young people. Despite the immensity of this issue, most youth do not receive mental health treatment. Gaming provides one avenue to reaching this population, as it is a hobby that is enjoyed by the majority of U.S. youth (71%). However, there is a need for more information on how to use gaming to support the mental health of youth and young adults in a culturally competent way. To fill this gap, the Ruderman Family Foundation commissioned the Public Good Projects (PGP) to understand the role that gaming plays in the mental health of youth and young adult gamers. This report contains the findings from a multi-phased investigation that consisted of a literature review; 22 interviews with youth and young adult gamers, researchers, clinicians, and developers from across the US; and an analysis of Reddit conversations on gaming and mental health.
This report identifies the role that gaming companies, mental health professionals, researchers, trusted adults in young gamers’ lives, and even gamers themselves can play in making the gaming space a more supportive environment for youth and young adult gamers’ mental health. The following recommendations have been drawn from key findings across all research activities.
Published on Oct. 18th 2023
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