A new study by the London School of Economics links Pokémon Go to positive mental health.
Feelgood Friday: The Positive Relationship Between Pokémon Go and Depression
Pokémon makes people happy. A statement that is obvious to Pokémon superfans like me, but one that was also verified in a recent study by the London School of Economics, who recently found a correlation between augmented reality king Pokémon Go and depression rates.
Thanks to its staggered release across the globe, the study was able to find a relationship between the amount of depression-related searches and the release of Pokémon Go in different countries. Notably, the amount of such searches fell compared to countries that weren’t yet graced with the opportunity to hunt for their favourite Pokémon in the big, wide world.
Whilst the correlation was apparent, the study was keen to stress (unsurprisingly) that location-based games that encourage people to get out and about are far from a cure to depression. In fact, the study also found that the correlation was short-lived, albeit significant.
"In the paper, the authors are keen to stress that their findings only relate to those suffering from non-clinical forms of mild depression and not those suffering with chronic or severe depressive disorders." The LSE report stated.
But with that said, the benefits of the game that famously got people off their butts and into the sunshine cannot be overstated. The efforts of Niantic - who have recently unveiled a new Pokémon Go-like title entitled Peridot - have been universally lauded for their innovative and healthier use of mobile gaming capabilities. And these findings only help to bolster that sentiment.
And let’s not forget the social elements. Teaming up with friends and strangers alike to go on a Pokémon hunt or tackle a raid are more obvious cures for feelings of loneliness. Which is something the MMO gaming sphere is particularly good at.
Exercise and a good ol’ dose of vitamin D are tried-and-tested methods for maintaining good mental health. The opportunity to catch an elusive Snorlax is just the icing on the feelgood cake. So long as it doesn’t cost you your job, that is.