PhD Student | Game Design / QA

Not Alone Blog

Shaping Perceptions

The “I’m fine” epidemic

In a 2018? survey by Populus, just over half of the UK population (51%) would not visit the doctor with a cancer-related symptom as they would be afraid of wasting their GP’s time. Additionally 1 in 4 people would not visit the doctor with their symptoms out of fear of what their diagnosis may be (Link). It is highly likely that this reluctance to visit a doctor leads to a higher risk of the cancer becoming diagnosed at a later stage and requiring emergency referral.

Not only is there a reluctance to visit a GP when showing symptoms but an additional issue regarding cancer care relates to the psychological and mental strain that the process puts on patients and their immediate families. A study run by the Mental Health Foundation (2018) found that 1 in 3 people with cancer will experience mental health problems such as anxiety or depression before, during or after the course of their treatment (Link), with 49% of patients interviewed saying that they were offered no support for managing mental health through their cancer journey (Link). These statistics would seem to suggest that there is much to be done in terms of raising awareness of available services and how affected cancer patients can gain access to them.

From a societal and cultural standpoint the statistics are also of interest. A YouGov survey carried out in 2016 found that 28% of male participants admitted they had not sought medical help for their mental health issues in comparison to 18% of women (Link). It is believed that this may be - in part - due to attitudes around health problems being seen as a weakness of their masculinity, thus less males are likely to seek the professional help due to societal pressures. Maybe add a bit about talking to friends and relatives about mental health issues?

In 2017 the statistics on Scottish suicide rates showed that males were three times more likely than females (Link).


Challenging social stigma

Discussing current ways to overcome this issue - films, leaflets etc - and how games can play a role in dispelling social stigma (large percentage of gamers thus large potential audience/ outreach).

Films such as Philadelphia.

Independent short films such as Stigma

Games such as Actual Sunlight, Depression Quest, Hellblade, Darkest Dungeon looking at mental health from different perspectives; AS, DQ and HB from a personal persepctive whereas Darkest Dungeon looks at it from a trait management perspective (Not particularly tactful).

Maybe even discuss how game culture extends to Let’s Plays and reaching an even wider audience than the game itself can.

Alexander TarvetComment