According to a recent study, online gaming communities can become a vital lifeline for young people suffering from mental health problems and social isolation. Researchers found that participants in gaming communities who reported more pronounced depressive symptoms and less support in real life were 40% more likely to form and maintain social connections with other players compared to those who had stronger offline support. This finding suggests that chats and social features in online games can provide isolated youth with an anonymous “third place” for self-expression, seeking empathy, and building important social connections.

Rising mental health issues among youth

Mental health problems such as depression and suicidal tendencies are becoming increasingly common among young people, especially males, in the US and other countries. According to statistics, up to 75% of people with mental disorders do not receive necessary help, and men are less likely to seek consultations or therapy.

One of the main reasons for this is social stigma and entrenched notions of traditional masculinity, which hinder open discussion of psychological issues. As a result, many young people withdraw, avoiding seeking professional help.

Online gaming as an alternative path to support

In this context, social online spaces such as gaming communities can offer an alternative and more accessible way to establish connections and discuss personal problems without the barriers associated with accessing official psychiatric services. The social features of multiplayer online games allow players to communicate privately, make friends, and create vital informal support networks.

During the study, researchers found that some participants in gaming communities discussed deeply personal and delicate topics with each other, such as stress, anxiety, depression, relationship problems, and important life decisions. Some players explicitly stated that they shared things they couldn’t talk about with close ones in real life, indicating that virtual friendship provided them with relief and emotional support they lacked offline.


Although these virtual forums do not replace professional help, they can contribute to open discussions about mental health issues among youth facing social isolation and depression when other sources of support are unavailable.

Esports as an opportunity for development and earning

Parallel to the growing popularity of online games and their social communities, the esports industry is gaining momentum. For many gamers, esports disciplines such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends, and others have become not just hobbies but real professions and sources of income.

Top esports athletes earn hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of dollars by participating in tournaments with impressive prize pools. For example, at the main Dota 2 tournament of the year – The International – the prize pool in 2022 exceeded 18 million dollars. To succeed, esports athletes train for many hours a day, honing their skills and practicing strategies.

The growing popularity of esports opens up new opportunities not only for professional players but also for enthusiasts eager to test their skills and earn through betting. Betting companies like Melbet offer a wide range of bets on esports tournaments, and broadcasts of major competition finals attract millions of viewers worldwide.

Further research and prospects

Despite promising preliminary results, further research is needed to better understand the impact of online games and their communities on the mental health and social integration of youth. The key question is whether social online support indeed contributes to overcoming depression or if individuals in a depressive state are simply more inclined to seek virtual connections.


Researchers plan more extensive studies covering diverse gaming genres and a broader audience to confirm and deepen understanding of this phenomenon. Of particular interest is studying the impact of multiplayer online games on the development of teamwork, leadership, and social skills among high school students and college students compared to traditional extracurricular activities.

Additionally, scientists intend to explore how participation in esports can contribute to forming strong social connections and strengthening a sense of community among youth. While the esports industry and associated competition betting are rapidly evolving, their impact on the mental health and personal development of players remains largely unexplored.

Through years of research, scientists hope to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the risks and potential benefits of online games and esports. This will enable the development of recommendations and strategies to maximize their positive impact on mental health.