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Calgarian's video game addiction work gets nod from CAMH

Cam Adair has been named one of 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health.

Cam Adair struggled with video game addiction, causing him to drop out of school.

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Cam Adair struggled with video game addiction, causing him to drop out of school.

Calgarian Cam Adair is being recognized by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health for his work in the area of video game addiction.

Adair struggled with video game addiction himself in his youth. More than two years ago, he used his own experience overcoming the addiction to form Game Quitters: a resource network for others who struggle with the same problem.

The website offers a community to help others around the world with their addiction, and a 90-day detox plan.

For his work through Game Quitters, Adair has been selected by CAMH as one of 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health.

“We have made significant strides on mental health and while there’s still a long way to go, there is great reason for optimism and hope,” said Louise Bradley, CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada and co-chair of nominations, in a statement.

“The people from across Canada that will be recognized through this project are symbols of that hope, each influencing change in their own way.”

CAMH themselves released a study last year, focused on Ontario school kids, that said 12 per cent of students have video gaming problems. This can mean playing video games to the point where it’s affecting grades, social life and quality of life.

In the last eight months alone, Game Quitters has doubled its user base, with more than 50,000 people signed up for the website. Adair said the organization mostly draws college students, but has resources for all.

What’s important to identify is that it’s not about making video games look inherently harmful.

“It’s really important that we move on from the debate whether video games are good or bad,” he explained.

“There are people playing who are fine and people playing who are not fine. Being able to identify who those people are who are at risk and struggling, maybe failing out of class or experiencing a negative impact of some kind, how can we reach them?”

In fact, video games can provide a positive impact for some.

Unfortunately, in situations where it creates a negative outcome, Adair feels there isn’t enough information in place to help people, especially students.

Going forward, he hopes to bring the conversation around video game addiction into schools.

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