Inputs for the Mental Health simulation

Mental health is currently not linked to much, and seemingly still under development, so I thought I’d speculate on what ought to link to it, beyond the obvious.

Of course, undisputedly, high Human Development, Disposable Income (best modelled by Earnings, rather than Wages?) and Stability (strong infrastructure, low crime), are the primary values, but as the devs have already highlighted, vices and free time are also relevant.


  • Working Week - obvs. Maybe Labour Days should start affecting this value, if we’re taking the Working Week seriously now
  • Earnings (meaning how much the majority of people make AFTER taxes)
  • Labour Exertion (This is how challenging work itself generally is, but shouldn’t be a one-to-one with Productivity. Some Productivity effects, like bottomed-out Labour Laws should DEFINITELY decrease Mental Health, but we CAN have our cake and eat it, it’s just challenging.
    I think Industrial Automation, Maternity Leave, Workers on Boards, Work Safety, Telecommuting, and low Retirement Age all should lower Labour Exertion, while Compulsory Work, and the Banning of Strikes should make it worse
  • Ownership Rights I would argue the ability for common people to easily own their own home, have equity in the company(s) they work for, and start their own business, offers vital control and meaning to people’s lives beyond simply stabilising their economic situation. I speculated on this in irresponsible detail in my Distributism policy pack.


  • Legal drug, alcohol, gambling, tobacco and prostitution could be modifiers, with the potential exception of societies which wholly stamp out addiction to them
  • high Environment, (specifically the environment they live and work in, but that may be too granular)
  • Lack of problems Largely qualified by the Stability metric, specific red bubbles could also have critical negative effects, most onerously Fake News, Social Media Addiction, Polarization, or other insidious subtle issues which prey on people in chronic, inescapable ways
  • Thriving leisure, entertainment, and arts industries, perhaps simply represented through GDP
  • Personal Liberties - Living free of authoritarianism which disrupts and intimidates (even if it’s simply the fear of it), and possessing the democratic rights to responsibly influence one’s own world. Represented by the Democracy value, I guess?
  • Societal compassion (This is the hardest and most contentious thing to model, but is vital to Mental Health. Theoretically, it comes from the kinds of societies which prioritise and celebrate kindness through both national sentiment and explicit policy.
    In practical terms, it could be valued by individual policies that explicitly care for people, such as Charity, Social Care, Disability Benefit etc. But with that logic, why not also include policies that simply empower people, such as Right to Privacy or Consumer Rights - which currently offer net-negative effects for some reason, despite being fundamentally good for people.
    Perhaps the best way to do it would be to simply use the Egalitarian Society situation, since that already aggregates a lot of compassionate concepts representing the existence of a fair world, though mostly qualified through certain measures of class equality
    I might call for a simulation entirely to model Societal Compassion, because it appears to be a very real effect which media and politicians transparently intend to influence, but failing that, I’m sure individual inputs influencing Mental Health on select policies would be fine.
    Mental Health Provision - Like Social Care, a new policy representing an actual publicly funded ancillary arm devoted to providing effective, free mental healthcare

Some stuff I don’t think should influence the value:

  • Education and its systems - I get the logic, but have you met an academic? Even in a perfect world, I truly don’t think intellectualism leads to happiness, it’s more of a responsibility
  • Values already influencing Health or Wages - No explicit need to count these twice, as they already contribute to Human Development
  • Unemployment - Obviously jobs give people purpose, but some of the happiest people are those exploring their passions without the need to work jobs they find meaningless. Because the game doesn’t currently recognise lives of personal happiness “work” though I argue it should for simplicity, the best way forth would be to simply ignore the Unemployment value’s impact on Mental Health
  • UBI is fine, I just hope it won’t end up being the only way to economically influence Mental Health in a weird inflexible way.
  • Elon Musk - The private space industry already increases Everyone appeal, which has always rubbed me the wrong way. Strikes me as Don’t Look Up logic. This same concept applies to any other tech bullshit that doesn’t help anyone do anything on its own.
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I think unemployment’s impact could be reduced but not eliminated. There are unhappy unemployed people after all.

Yes, but usually because they don’t have something else to do, or live in deprived circumstances. There is nothing that we can consider natively enjoyable about labour.

Well, I wouldn’t say that, there are some people who enjoy doing work.

Yo it’s been like three years and the Mental Health situation is still barely implemented.

Also, can’t imagine many things more eye-rollingly man-shakes-fist-at-cloud than making Social Media Addiction the only meaningful input to the simulation, the solution for which doesn’t seem to have any drawbacks for its most punitive options when the exhaustive control China and other autocratic states exerts has been hugely damaging to systems of information and democracy.

I won’t die on the hill of precise emulation of how social media behaves because even the world’s greatest minds are still trying to understand that, but I’d love to see Mental Health taken seriously if not by engaging with any number of my points above, then by any reasonable value that actually engages with the concept that calm and fulfilled workers and citizens make that country happier and better in some way.

Because it feels like the devs stumbled across something more socialist than they realised it’d be, stopped dead in their tracks, and attached a bunch of dead simulations like Working Week and Drug Consumption to a value that can barely increase, and feeds into almost nothing, giving very negligible effects.