Can Grand Theft Auto V help your mental health? Yes, say role-players

In a virtual world best known for its crime and violence, gamers are using San Andreas as a safe space to cope with grief, gambling and addiction

It isn’t the tumbling, 360-degree views of San Andreas that command our undivided attention from the top of Mount Chiliad. Nor is it the whir of the cable cars. And it’s not the blanket of mist that engulfs the valley below, nor the implacable sunrise that invades every inch of the towering cliffside’s crevices and chasms.

At 2,619 feet above sea level, our group of five is hanging on every word of Craig (not his real name), an unassuming Grand Theft Auto V role-player, as he shares a personal tale about his mother’s alcoholism, how she was knocked down and killed as she left her local pub one evening and how he has struggled with depression and anxiety ever since.

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