Revolutionary Mobile Game Proven to Improve Mental Health and Reduce Anxiety in Teens


Self-isolation is necessary for our physical health, but isolation can also hinder mental health and increase anxiety, especially among teens. A free mobile game is helping to remedy that and revolutionize mental health for the under-18 set.

In Shadow’s Edge, a self-help game available in six languages, players make over a city overcome by darkness, and in turn, the game helps players overcome everything from everyday disappointments to major traumas by reducing anxiety and developing the following seven tools of resilience:

  • Proactive coping
  • Mindfulness and acceptance
  • Optimism
  • Emotional regulation
  • Derived meaning
  • Positive self-identity
  • Connectedness

The game has proven results:

  • 80% of players saw increased optimism
  • 82% saw better emotional regulation
  • 83% felt more connected
  • 76% improved mindfulness, awareness and self-identity

Shadow’s Edge is an extension of The Digging Deep Project, a non-profit with the focus of driving better emotional health outcomes in adolescents and young adults through digital media.

CEO Rosemary Lokhurst explains, “We felt something completely different was needed to help address the teen mental health crisis to give young people the chance to build confidence and inner strength.” Shadow’s Edge has won numerous awards, including the Digital Health Award in 2018 and a nomination for the Edison Awards in 2019, but Lokhurst says the response from players is the best recognition. “Their family and friends came back to us and said ‘it really changed something in their lives,” she told Bustle, explaining that the element of being in control was particularly helpful: “In a game versus a movie, people can walk around. They can decide.”

One more reason it works? As one player put it, “You can see a shrink versus playing a game.” Shadow’s Edge meets teens where they are (on their phones!) and helps them, literally, get to a brighter place. You can learn more about Shadow’s Edge, including player testimonials and gameplay clips, here.