Gaming | Mental Health | Suicide Prevention

How Smartphone (Video) Games Fed My Depression & Suicide Attempt

Why are gaming companies allowed to benefit from addictions and gambling-disguised-as-video-games without clear warnings and oversight?

Dwade Kearns
A Windy Life
Published in
9 min readOct 28, 2021
Photo by SCREEN POST on Unsplash

I recently read an article titled “Video Games Could Hold Untapped Potential in Treatment of Mental Illness” (source Very Well Mind). From my own experience with smartphone games and depression, that statement was mind-boggling. To me, it would be similar to reading that using non-renewal fossil fuel could be the way to fix a high concentration of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere! So… I went digging.

I will share what I found on this topic and compare it to my experience with depression during which overspending on smartphone games was my main activity in the weeks leading to my suicide attempt.

The Very Well Mind article was based on a report published in June of 2021 in JMIR Serious Games. This report was not about games specifically designed to be used in mental illness treatment. It addressed the potential impact of commercially available video games.

The JMIR Report

First of all, let’s understand that this was a report, not a study. The authors looked at studies to write a report on a subject that was not directly part of the studies they reviewed. Let me explain. Because some benefits of video games appear to match issues faced by people suffering from depression, they concluded that video games had the “potential” to be used in mitigating symptoms of depression, especially because (they say) video games are much less expensive than the cost of therapy.

Let’s see how their logic went.

Step 1: Depression Symptoms

“The two core symptom criteria of depression are either chronic low mood or loss of interest and loss of pleasure. (…) Apart from physical manifestations, such as fatigue, insomnia or hypersomnia, weight loss, and digestive issues, individuals with depression can experience a diminished ability to think and concentrate, and experience greater indecisiveness, feelings of…



Dwade Kearns
A Windy Life

A #depression brought me to a suicide attempt. I fight taboos on Medium while working on my books. | #SuicidePrevention #WritingCommunity | #PenName