In this episode of Breaking Barriers, host Natalie Jones, discovers the unexpected power of games like Dungeons and Dragons, and how support workers can use roleplay to transform the lives of people living with mental health challenges. How does this unique activity help people to gain confidence and develop interpersonal skills?
Our guest is Paris Conte, a telecommunications business owner turned mental health support worker - whose gaming-related epiphany has led to some amazing results for socially isolated young people.
● Paris Conte is introduced - we learn the story behind his name, and how he came to be a support worker at genU. 00.00-5.23
● The origins of genU GAMER are explained. 5.23-10.18
● A few success stories are explored. 10.18-14.00
● Paris delves into the reasons genU GAMER works so well. 14.00-16.02
● We meet Jake Anderson, and learn how his life changed through working with Paris. 16.02-21.45
● Paris explains the benefits of employing a neuro-diverse person. 21.45-22.56
● Find out how Paris feels about his work now, and what he plans to do next. 21.45-25.12
“I asked the group whether they had ever played Dungeons and Dragons, and would they be interested in trying it or playing it? And next thing I know everyone had put down their consoles and phones and tablets, and were all looking at me.”
“We provide a safe, pop culture-filled environment that they feel safe and comfortable included in, and slowly but surely they get to work on the things that they want to work on, in a structured environment.”
“I'm really looking forward to the time where once we've really identified the true strengths within people that (their abilities) becomes a non-sequitur, and we don’t think about that anymore. We just put people in the right places that they can blossom and shine in and bring benefit to everybody, including themselves.”