Authored by Khanh Tong, Salt Lake County Youth Services Case Manager
Adults and children are heading out of their homes and into the streets to catch Pokémon, and it has been a great health benefit for many since the game encourages people to walk to designated places. You can catch Pokémon or find rare items for the game at a virtually designated place called a PokeStop.
In addition, to the physical health benefits it also has mental health benefits as well; we’ve seen Twitter and Facebook fill with people claiming that the game has help them get out of the house. People are said that they didn’t want to leave the house before due to anxiety or depression, but now feel compelled to get outside because they need to catch those rare items for the game which can only be located at certain location on the map.
At many parks in Salt Lake City, we also see that people circling up with their faces still glued to their phone, and their fingers flicking to catching Pokémon. And, people are making new friends, talking about the Pokémon they’ve caught and how to get rare items for the game.
We asked Chris Bereshnyi, Salt Lake County Youth Services Family Therapist his thoughts about the Pokémon craze. Chris said, “Pokémon Go can help those who have social anxiety because they’re in the social environment while at the same time distracted from their anxious thoughts because they’re playing Pokémon.”
We should be cautious to say that Pokémon Go is the solution for depression and anxiety; with any good intervention, only time will show if it will have long lasting effect. For now the game has both physical and mental health benefits and we can see that people are responding well to it.
If youth are looking for additional help with any kind mental health issues, they can find help at Salt Lake County Youth Services. We have psycho-educational classes, therapist, crisis counselors, family resource facilitators and case manager available onsite 24/7. Most of these services are provided without a charge to the public or we accept Medicaid. Call 385-468-4500 for additional information and consultation.