LOS ANGELES – Online gaming has become a source of comfort and support for mother-daughter duos, shedding light on the often overlooked benefits of the virtual world.
Shamaila Yunus and her mother Diana found solace and respite in LivePlay Bingo, an interactive online game show that gave them the community during difficult times.
“During the epidemic, it was a bit depressing because my mother and I were homeless,” Shamila said. “So I was looking at the App Store and I was looking for something to keep me occupied just to lift my spirits a bit.”
Based in Los Angeles, LivePlay Bingo offers players the opportunity to engage with live hosts 24 hours a day, fostering a sense of connection and camaraderie. The game is free to play with the option to purchase add-ons if desired. For Shamaila, the game provided a much-needed break from the weight of her battle with mental health issues, including an eating disorder.
“Because I deal with mental health every day, people don’t understand what it’s like,” she says. It’s kind of what inspired me to want to improve my mental health.
Diana says that playing the game has also had a positive effect on her mental well-being.
“I try to be a teacher, and sometimes I worry about how I’m going to get the money there, but they help me make sure my anxiety isn’t bad,” she said.
While online gaming has often been criticized for its potential negative effects on mental health, recent studies have revealed surprising benefits. According to a study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, online games are associated with higher self-esteem and social support, as well as lower negative affect, anxiety and depression.
For LivePlay Bingo host Kelly Miyahara, the relationship is a two-way street.
“My feeling when I come to work, it’s crazy to think that a lack of better verbal performance can affect people,” she says.
Miyahara recalls the moment she realized the profound impact the game had on players’ lives, when a player told her about their suicidal thoughts and how playing the game with her gave her hope.
“Thank you because you saved my life,” the player said.
“It’s amazing to know that they’re part of more than just a game,” Miyahara said.
As the world continues to grapple with the intersection of mental health and technology, Shamaila and Diana’s experiences serve as a testament to the positive impact online games can have on mental well-being. By fostering relationships, providing support and providing an escape from everyday challenges, online gaming platforms like LivePlay Bingo are proving to be unexpected sources of comfort and strength.