The International Games Summit on Mental Health: A Pioneering Evening of Insight and Empathy

Last week, I had the privilege of attending The International Games Summit on Mental Health (TIGS), an event that transcends the traditional boundaries of the gaming industry. This gala, spearheaded by the visionary Mark Chandler, brought together luminaries of the gaming world for an evening of profound conversations centred on mental health and emotional intelligence.

The highlight of the evening featured two icons in the gaming industry, Osama Dorias and Jamil Higley. Their insights into the intersection of gaming and mental health shed light on the transformative power that video games can have on individuals and the industry's responsibility to foster inclusivity.

Jamil Higley, renowned as the face of Alyx from the Half-Life series, shared a powerful revelation during the event. She noted how fans would express that Alyx taught them empathy, a trait modelled by a non-playable character. Higley emphasized the enduring impact of Alyx's character, resonating with gamers even two decades later. She questioned why more games aren't embedded with profound learning experiences that facilitate the development of empathy and emotional intelligence. Higley's perspective encourages reevaluating the potential positive influences that video games can have on players, both in virtual worlds and in real-life interactions.

In his address, Osama Dorias brought attention to the often-overlooked aspects of mental health within the gaming industry. As a prominent figure, he aimed to showcase what mental illness or disorder might look like when applied to the gaming context. Dorias challenged the audience to recognize the characteristics of mental health challenges and proposed strategies to create a welcoming environment for those affected. Moreover, he highlighted the positive aspects that can emerge from embracing and harnessing the unique perspectives and talents that individuals with mental health characteristics bring to the industry.

The overarching theme of TIGS revolved around the growing acknowledgment within the gaming community of the importance of mental health and emotional intelligence. The industry is evolving, and as it does, cultivating a supportive and inclusive environment becomes paramount for the well-being of professionals and the sustained growth of the sector.

Chandler's initiative in organizing TIGS underscores the commitment of the gaming industry to address these pressing issues. By providing a platform for open dialogue and shared experiences, TIGS contributes to normalizing discussions around mental health within the gaming community. The event catalyzes change, encouraging developers, professionals, and enthusiasts to collectively work towards a more empathetic and supportive gaming landscape.

TIGS is a beacon of progress in the gaming industry. The valuable insights shared by Jamil Higley and Osama Dorias, coupled with the dedication of Mark Chandler, make TIGS a pivotal event in the ongoing conversation about mental health within the gaming world. As the industry continues to evolve, TIGS sets a precedent for similar initiatives, demonstrating that fostering a holistic approach to well-being is essential and an integral part of the gaming industry's future.