“It’s the fear that drives you!”
As a therapist, with a keen interest in video games, my partner and I stumbled across a walkthrough of the game “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” through YouTuber Hollow, randomly last week. Pretty quickly what became apparent watching the jaw-dropping Viking world unfold before our eyes, was the involvement of a mental health expert in the games development team.
To those that haven’t seen or heard of it, “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice” is a videogame which offers a profound and thought-provoking journey into the depths of mental illness through the protagonist Senua, a female Viking traversing her way to Helheim, an afterlife location in Norse mythology. As we watched the Pict warrior’s harrowing quest unfold, we could only be but deeply moved by the game’s daring approach in addressing this important and often overlooked topic with care and intelligence.
The portrayal of Senua’s internal dialogue, manifested through a constant stream of voices inside her head, was both authentic and strikingly poignant. As we witnessed her struggles with auditory hallucinations and conflicting thoughts, I was constantly reminded of the complex challenges faced by individuals dealing with mental health conditions. The game’s metaphorical descent into madness and the representation of Senua’s fears and doubts effectively conveyed the emotional turmoil that many experience in real life. We found it commendable how the game creators incorporated a unique twist on perma-death, reflecting the sense of urgency and desperation often associated with mental health battles.
“I’ve never seen, or heard anything quite like it! It is a work of art, that provides a level of immersion that is seldom seen in other forms of media.”Caroline Holbrook
However, I acknowledge that the game’s dark and harrowing nature might not be considered “fun” in the traditional sense. It demands patience and perseverance from players, just as Senua needs to push forward through nightmares to find her truth. Nonetheless, for those seeking a deeper understanding of mental health issues, as one delves deeper into the game, the profound extent of its symbolism becomes apparent amplified by the game’s deeply unsettling sound design. Senua’s encounters go beyond merely hearing voices; the intricate manifestations of psychosis shape her entire journey. It is in this aspect that Hellblade distinguishes itself and reaches new heights and to that, I can but only applaud the British video game development studio – Ninja Theory.
As a psychotherapist, I encourage players who are avid video gamers and may be experiencing mental health repercussions from excessive gaming to message me and arrange a quick and free consultation. It’s essential to strike a healthy balance between gaming and taking care of one’s mental well-being, and I’m here to offer support and guidance to those in need.
Wishing you good mental health,
Caroline Holbrook: Psychotherapist | Life Coach | Counsellor
If you are looking for professional and qualified advice in and around Sitges (Spain), then please call me directly at +34 603 63 29 24. If you are based remotely, then you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Either way, more information about the services I offer can be found here at the Here to Help website.