The rise of the gaming industry has led to more people wanting to make a career out of streaming, but many struggle with mental health issues while they are trying to build their communities of fans. This is largely due to the nature of streaming, where your personal life is laid bare for everyone you know. This article will provide a list of mental health resources for gamers and streamers that are 100% free.
Southern Utah University: Gaming – Mental Health Toolkit
This toolkit is designed to provide resources for effective lifestyle changes that can be implemented into a gamer's daily routine. It also provides resources on how mental health issues affect gamers, in order to reduce stigma towards mental illness in general. The toolkit includes the following resources:
- Video Game Addiction Resources - A website with various gaming addiction resources.
- On-line Gamers Anonymous® - A 12-step program designed to help with gaming addiction.
- Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous - A recovery program for gaming addicts.
- Escaping Video Game Addiction - A TedTalk by Cam Adair on how he overcame gaming addiction and the effect it had on his life.
- Video Game Addiction Explained - A brief video explaining what video game addiction is as a recognized mental health condition by the WHO.
Riot Games Mental Health Advocacy Guide
Riot Games recently partnered with the Public Good Projects (PGP) to provide an interactive Mental Health Guide for Content Creators, such as streamers. “In this guide, users will find information, resources, and best practices from top mental health organizations aimed to help guide streamers and mods through conversations around mental health, and, if needed, how to connect their viewers to professional services,” Riot’s guide reads. The guide is broken down into five chapters:
- Mental Health Awareness
- Having Conversations About Mental Health
- What to Avoid and Language to Use
- Fact-dropping for Streams
- Resources to Share
Riot also announced a partnership with the Crisis Text Line last June, which offers free and confidential support to anyone facing a mental health crisis. The Crisis Text Line's staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can assist with a variety of issues, including suicidal thoughts, self-harm, depression, and anxiety.
Anxiety Gaming is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that promotes mental health for the gaming community. Anxiety Gaming helps match gamers with the ideal therapist, and even covers the cost of mental health treatment for those who can't otherwise afford it.
You Are Rad
Rise Above The Disorder (RAD) is focused on providing mental health care to everyone, regardless of hurdles like insurance and navigating the healthcare system, which shouldn't be standing in the way of you getting better. They've previously partnered with Dreamhack to run Smash tournaments, and specifically cater to youth without access to insurance.
According to the site, "Take This is a gamer and streamer mental health advocacy organization with a focus on the game industry and community. We provide resources, training, and support for individuals and companies that help the gaming community improve its mental well-being and resilience. The organization addresses the underlying conditions that can create and perpetuate mental health challenges: stigma, harmful studio culture, harassment and toxicity, lack of diversity and accessibility, and problematic game and community design."
Take This recently launched a Discord channel to assist those isolated by the coronavirus pandemic, with licensed psychologists on the community management team. They also have some expertly-collected information accessible, which might be very beneficial if you're considering therapy. There are links to online psychologists and local databases, which is crucial in today's environment. And to top it off, if you just want to meet some nice people, they have a number of stream ambassadors who can join you in your favorite activities.
CheckPoint is a charity that provides mental health resources for gamers and the gaming community. Their mission is to raise awareness for mental health issues, reduce stigma, and improve the wellbeing of the gaming community. We are passionate about using video games for positive wellbeing and resilience.
CheckPoint has also established mental-wellness Discord servers to assist people with mental health issues. The organization's official server, known as GamerMates, helps gamers discover 'a pro-mental health gaming community that promotes resilience and self-care as well as provides advice and resources for your wellbeing.' They run gaming sessions and 'game of the month' clubs, to help introduce gamers to caring communities.
The second server, PatchGaming, is a rapid-response service for individuals in need of mental health support. A voice channel known as 'I Need To Talk' will connect you with a trained listener who may be able to offer assistance but not formal therapy.
Guardians Mental Health
Guardians Mental Health is a 501c3 nonprofit mental health organization that is focused on promoting mental health awareness and meaningful resources throughout the gaming community. They provide first step support with gathering resources, peer support and where to find a mental health professional near you. They are not a replacement for dedicated professional help.
Some of their programs include:
- The Streamer Mental Health Kit Program: "We have pooled all of our resources to create this one in a kind training to help YOU, the streamer, understand mental health, why your own mental health is important, and how you can help your stream viewers understand themselves. But also, and more importantly, point your viewers in the correct direction when topics become too much to handle via streaming and cross not just your boundaries, but the ethical boundaries of providing therapy without adequate training. To be clear, this program does not make you a licensed clinician with all of our superpowers of therapeutic intervention. This coursework gives you the tools to recognize when someone is in need and then provide them the necessary mental health backup by referring out to a qualified agency. We want to see you all succeed and know that there is ALWAYS a lot going on during the streams and that it takes some significant impact upon everyone's (yes, even yours!) own psychological makeup."
- Real Time Support Bot: "The RTS Bot, provides 24/7 on-demand mental health/crisis resources. It has a library of 100+ resources available to individuals when they need it most, and can be accessed via Twitch. Discord, and a mobile friendly website."
- Mental health kits program: "Our mental health kits program concentrates on Gamer’s mental health, self-care and focuses on supporting an individual before, during and after gaming sessions."
There are an abundance of mental health resources for gamers out there. Some are aimed at streamers and some towards the public, but they all share the same goal: to break the stigma surrounding mental health, provide first steps for people who need help or advice, and promote positive change within gaming culture.