NERDS partnered with Cybersmile to provide a fun way of accessing mental health help for young people. (NERDS)

NERDS partnered with Cybersmile to provide a fun way of accessing mental health help for young people. (NERDS)

Receive mental health help while playing videogames

Candy brand NERDS and Cybersmile partnered to create an island on Animal Crossing: New Horizons

As more people stay in and spend time on social media and gaming platforms, a non-profit and a popular candy brand have partnered to make mental health help more accessible during this time of isolation.

The Cybersmile Foundation and NERDS have built a world together on the popular game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Called NERDS World, Cybersmile said the island is designed to provide players with a comforting and positive safe space, allowing them to engage in fun and inspirational activities.

Once they’re inside NERDS World, players can choose to explore on their own or take part in activities with other players.

An important aspect of the world is that it’s meant to serve not only as part of the game, but also as a support system and resource for players who want to learn more or seek mental health help.

Cybersmile director Scott Freeman said by partnering with NERDS and using a gaming platform, they hope to reach more people.

“With our Stay Nerd campaign, we try to encourage young people to be passionate, be true to themselves and never stop chasing their dreams,” she said.

“One of the main issues young people face these days is cyberbullying, so we partnered with Cybersmile to do our part and help those who are affected by it.”

Freeman said players can find tips on how to deal with anxiety and cyberbullying, among other things, throughout the island. This way, players can play a game and have fun while accessing help.

He said they picked the Animal Crossing platform because it has non-violent objectives, unlike many other games.

“The atmosphere is very relaxing and many gamers have said they find the activities they can do in the game to be stress-relieving.”

“It is a place where they can escape for a bit, enjoy themselves and interact with other players,” he said.

READ: Clinicians worry pandemic is worsening youth mental health

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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