Talking suicide prevention in gaming

AUSTIN - Many attendees of the final day of South by Southwest 2017 were focused on the festival's music and gaming portions, with a few attendees discussing suicide prevention.

The informal "Don't Die: Suicide Prevention and Video Games" panel was mainly attended by gamers and parents, and discussed ways the topic is presented in mainstream and indie titles. Panelists Chris Maxwell of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, Dese'Rae Stage of Live Through This, Beau Pinkham of The Crisis Center of Johnson County (Iowa) and David Wolinsky of Don't Die discussed how the industry can reach people in many ways that other mediums cannot.

The panel highlighted some titles which have not taken suicide seriously (Grand Theft Auto V) and others who are bringing attention to mental health, notably an interaction in "Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild."

In the new Nintendo title, non-playable character (NPC) Brigo will interact with the story's main character if they stand on the edge of a bridge. A March 13 Reddit post has grown with other users sharing how suicide has impacted them. One user linked to HelpGuide.org as a resource people can utilize when seeing or dealing with issues.

Several other titles have also weaved mental issues into their storylines, including "Life is Strange," "The Mirror" and "Depression Quest."

The panelists closed the hour-long discussion by encouraging people in the community be aware of some of the warning signs and for people to be willing to listen if someone is looking to talk about their issues or problems.

TAP HERE for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, or call 1-800-273-TALK.

TAP HERE for more information from Live Through This.

TAP HERE for Austin Travis County Integral Care (ATCIC) information, or call 512-472-HELP

TAP HERE for more information about Don't Die

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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