Can Pokémon Go Really Improve Your Mental Health?

African American man smiling using cell phoneLove it hate it, Pokémon Go, a new mobile game based on the popular 1995 game, is helping people with depression and anxiety alleviate their symptoms.

How it works:

According to the hit game’s website, it uses a person’s iPhone and Android device camera and GPS to place Pokémon characters in real world locations, such as public art installations, historical markers and monuments in proximity to the player. In order to earn points, players must “catch” characters by taking aim with “Poké Balls.” Players are encouraged to “search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon.”

How it’s changing lives:

As those who struggle with depression know far too well, staying motivated while managing a mental disorder like depression or anxiety can be a challenge. However, shortly after the game dropped, social media users raved over the game’s ability to get them engaged.

“#PokemonGO has changed me so much for the better in only a week. Dealing with BPD, depression& anxiety it has helped me get out of the house,” wrote one Twitter user.

“Real talk – as someone with anxiety/depression, the fact that I’ve spent most of this weekend outside with friends is unreal. #PokemonGo,” penned another.

“I don’t care what you say, #PokemonGo has been helping my husband’s depression more than anything else ever has. ????????????,” raved yet another user, claiming the game tops any treatment.

Meanwhile, a psychologist tells Health he isn’t surprised by these reports. “I think it’s a genuinely positive development,” Ben Michaelis, PhD, an evolutionary clinical psychologist and author of Your Next Big Thing, told the publication.