Supporting Mental Health in your Audience
The entire point of Great Games Done Slow is not just to raise money, but to raise awareness for mental health issues, and help gamers improve their wellbeing. Even if you don’t have much experience with mental health (we all have some!) here are some simple things you can do to achieve these goals:
Normalise mental health.
This means helping people to understand that we all have mental health and everyone can wobble at times. From stress to depression, social anxiety to panic attacks, we all experience our own mental health on a spectrum that varies from day to day. Approximately 50% of people have mental health issues at any point during their life, and 25% of people will have symptoms of one in any given year. It’s that common, and certainly not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
Teach people that it is okay to ask for help.
It doesn’t make you weak, a failure, or a bad person. Unfortunately due to all of the barriers in place, only 1/3 of people affected actually ask for help. Most issues can be resolved with simple self-help techniques, and there is also a wide range of professional assistance available in the form of support groups, therapy, and medication. You won’t be locked away, or labelled as “crazy” – and asking for help might change your life forever.
Avoid stigmatising language.
Part of the reason so few people seek help is that society has a view of mental illness as something dangerous, scary, or laughable. If we refuse to engage in this dialogue, it will eventually die out. So try not to use the words, “crazy”, “mental”, “insanity”, “nuts”, “loopy”, etc, in a negative light. Educate yourself about what the difference is between “psychosis” and “psychopath”. And avoid playing games that demonise the mentally ill (for example, most games set in asylums).
Signpost to resources.
Most countries have an enormous amount of resources available that many people don’t know about. You can link to the CheckPoint Global Mental Health Resources and Emergency Contact Numbers page as part of your Twitch chatbot. There are also a whole bunch of self-care resources and other useful information on the CheckPoint website.
Start your stream with a mindful meditation.
We love mindfulness and we were lucky enough to have voice actress Jennifer Hale do a guided breathing exercise for us! Why not use it for yourself and your viewers?