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With the mental health crisis worsening across all age groups since the onset of the pandemic, the discrepancy between access to mental health resources and demand continues to grow. The need for both practical solutions and greater education has been well documented and publicized, yet there remains a gap in access, especially for youth. Though not a replacement for professional care, popular media can and should serve as an avenue to raise awareness, offer information and challenge stigma.

Video games have a unique potential to address mental health challenges and teach therapeutic skills. Moreover, video games can promote empathy, hope and optimism by actively engaging the player in stories of discovery, resilience and personal growth. However, widely inclusive games of this nature do not currently exist. Available video games that attempt to feature or address mental health issues are often insufficient in story and narrow in their scope and audience. This is a missed opportunity; we can do better.

In response to the dire need for mental health integration across all industries, we founded Taralumen Games in 2021, to address the specific need for high quality interactive media focused on mental health and designed for all ages. Taralumen’s goal is to make video games that educate and provide tools that address challenges such as anxiety, depression and emotional regulation, allowing players to see themselves in the struggle and the solution. Our ultimate goal is to offer community, compassion and hope to our players and encourage them to take the conversation beyond the screen.