Anyone who has followed my content over the last 18 months knows how I feel about Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. A game that brings serious mental health issues to mainstream audiences through the power of computer games. To add to this incredible achievement, we now have Senua’s Scholarship an initiative that trains mental health professionals in the real world. But before I talk about that here’s what Hellblade is and has done for the uninitiated.
Hellblade: Senua’s Success
Hellblade has garnered multiple awards and has enjoyed commercial success far beyond anything the developer Ninja Theory could have dreamed. Game awards, BAFTAs and so many other plaudits have been rained down upon them for the game itself. But also feedback from gamers and their families on how the game helped them understand their own condition or that of a loved one, so much better. The video to the right is created from feedback received from players and their families. It is powerful stuff.
Hellblade: Senua Saving Lives
But it is this tweet that has encapsulated this game’s positive impact. This heartwarming message for a mother about her son is so powerful. Gaming is growing up and highlights why this fantastic emerging media can have a hugely positive impact on, not just gamers, but those who love them.
That is truly special. And I hope that Jessica’s son is now on his way to recovery.
“He couldn’t take everything he’d been dealing with & had a plan to kill himself. Your game changed his plan.”
Hellblade: Senua’s attention to detail
Throughout its life, Hellblade has been steeped in the mental health community. Advice and input from Professors of psychiatry and those suffering from mental health issues added authenticity. Ninja Theory did everything they could to present a true and authentic representation of psychosis and struggles with mental health. In doing so they created an experience that will remain with me for a long time. My teenage son played the game and it inspired him to learn more about psychosis. In this day and age, it is so important for teenagers to understand mental health and have it destigmatised.
Ninja Theory and Senua’s Scholarship
Not only have Ninja Theory donated tens of thousands of pounds to mental health charities, now they have created Senua’s Scholarship. In the video to the right Dom Matthews (Ninja Theory) and Tracey Bartlet (from recovery college East) discuss the Senua Scholarship a new initiative financed by Hellblade’s success.
Essentially the Scholarship funds the training of a Recovery College student through the charity Head to Toe. Once trained these Mental Health Tutors will help those with recent diagnosis move on with their lives and cope with their condition.
Hellblade: Senua’s Summary
Gaming has matured as an entertainment media and can tackle difficult and essential topic just as well, if not better, than film, TV and books (click here for my last blog on the subject). Hellblade demonstrates this positive impact, showing that games don’t just help people virtually but in the real world as well.
Congratulations Ninja Theory you have every reason to be proud of everything you have achieved.