Playing for Wellbeing: MIGW’s Creative Exchange

Playing for Wellbeing: MIGW’s Mind Games Creative Exchange

“Self-care isn’t selfish” — one of the many words of wisdom shared at Mind Games Creative Exchange

Games help us to unwind and relax. In fact, the most recent ‘Australia Plays’ report found that 70% of Australians play games to improve mental health.

‘Mind Games – Mental Health and the World of Digital Games’ was a Creative Exchange event that brought experts together to unpack how games can have a positive influence in our lives.

The speakers included internationally renowned thought leaders:

Associate Professor Vasileios Stavropoulos, an academic in Psychology at RMIT and research expert in the health potential of digital games.

Darren Vukasinovic, an immersive installation artist who explores how experiential art shapes memories, behaviour and identity.

Sarah Sorrell, Charity Director of Safe in our World, a UK-based video games mental health charity that empowers both players and industry workers.

The speakers presented their insights at Swanston Hall to an audience of industry professionals, game developers, researchers, video game players and parents.

Michelle (Hsiao Wei) Chen was also there to exhibit 3 thoughtful mental health games from her Mental Jam project, all co-created with people sharing their lived experiences.

The panel offered a range of perspectives on how games connect with mental wellbeing, from Stavropoulos’ research on how play might help us detect anxiety or depression, to Vukasinovic’s transformative immersive art that encourages socialising, curiosity and wonder, to Sorrell’s advice on creating supportive workplace environments in the games industry.

These themes were expanded during a Q&A session where attendees and panellists discussed studio ethics, responsible AI training, and the wealth of evidence that shows video games are not addictive - but are instead possibly good for us! And this was a major takeaway from the event: While games can potentially improve wellbeing, this must come with responsible design and a healthy workplace.

As Sorrell reminded us: “self-care isn’t selfish.”

Mind Games was presented by Creative Australia and supported by City of Melbourne, Epicure, and Creative Victoria