Ask Sam letter

Asker

To Sam

Suicide in a game

Hi Sam,

Recently I have been playing a video game and there is a character in it called Kate. She gets bullied and tries to kill herself and it's my job to prevent it. I didn't and it's been tearing me apart for a while. I know it's only a game but it felt so real. How do I stop feeling like this?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

It's easy to get pulled into a story in a game, TV show or a book - especially if the characters in it are very real and believable. Some people play video games because they're a way to escape from real life or take your mind off things. Other people play them just because they're fun.

Whatever the reason you play games, it's important to make sure you can separate what happened in the game with the rest of your life. This includes the feelings you get when you play it, especially if they’re sad or difficult emotions.

Getting really invested in a game or TV show can sometimes have a negative effect if the story has difficult themes. When this happens it's important to take a step back, think about how it made you feel and remind yourself that it isn't real.

If you're finding this game is affecting you so much it might be time to take a break from it. Taking a break might mean going a few days, weeks or even months before playing again. You might decide not to come back to it at all and that's okay. Try doing something else - go out and see friends, play sport or do something creative. If you still feel this way after not playing for a while, or you don't want to stop, you could always start the game again and this time try other things to see the other side of the story, if there is one.

In real life suicide isn't something that any one person is responsible for stopping. We can all look out for each other and do what we can to support the people we care about, but sometimes this isn't enough on its own. Some people need professional help and there is only ever so much you can do as a friend. Talking to someone who's suicidal isn't easy and you should make sure you take care of yourself as well.

Remember that real life isn't like a computer game. What happens to Kate in the game may not be much like what someone would do or say in real life. Games can tell a story and so might need to make characters do and say things that a real person wouldn't.

It’s okay to stop playing if you feel like games are having a negative effect on how you feel, or if you think you’re playing too much. If you need to talk about how this game's making you feel then our Childline counsellors are here for you.

Thanks for your letter.

Take care,

Sam

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

Ask me a question

You can ask me about anything you want, there's nothing too big or small.

Write me a letter