Traditional gaming stereotypes have become outdated. Many still associate this popular pastime with violence or suicide, but recent studies have found that people increasingly use games to build meaningful connections, open up about their feelings, and de-stress. You could say it’s a form of therapy, a way to cope with a whole new set of anxieties brought on by 2020.
In the lead-up to World Mental Health Day on Saturday, October 10th, creative agency the community has partnered with Skillshot, the prominent Esports company, and Rise Above the Disorder (RAD), a non-profit dedicated to battling the two greatest barriers to mental health care – access and affordability, to launch Gamer Therapy. The new initiative builds on what gamers are already doing by pairing them with real therapists to conduct therapy sessions while they play.
A teaser video, created by the community New York, has launched to spread the word and drive gamers to sign up for a free therapy sessions via the initiative’s website, gamertherapy.live. Starting on Saturday, October 10th, free therapy sessions will be offered, and psychoeducation sessions for content creators will be streamed on Twitch for the gaming community to discover. Subsequent videos will go live in the coming weeks, with online posts and organic social content going live throughout October to drive additional awareness. Ultimately, Gamer Therapy hopes to flip the script on the normal headlines rooted in violence, suicide and big contracts that plague the gaming space.
Jason Docton, CEO at RAD, said: “Gaming has always been a home to me. It’s where I met the greatest friends I’ve ever known. Where I turned when I felt my anxiety and depression were becoming too much to endure. And where I founded Anxiety Gaming, the World of Warcraft guild that would eventually become Rise Above The Disorder. Teaming up on Gamer Therapy to bring healing to our community is an incredible honor and privilege. I’ve always believed in the ability of gaming to change and even save lives. Today, we’re sharing that with the world.”
Todd Harris, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Skillshot, said: “We know gaming can be a positive force for making the world a better place. Some people also play games to self-medicate and better cope with anxiety, stress, and depression, especially during this pandemic. We’ve seen casual gamers, pro e-sports players and streamers all struggle with mental health. We’re honored to partner on this initiative to provide access to mental health services, plus live-stream content to destigmatize conversations about mental health.”
Frank Cartagena, Chief Creative Officer at the community, said: “Not only is this a great creative idea, but the long term potential is really exciting to me. We have the right partners on board to give people real, long term help. And my personal goal would be to make Gamer Therapy a clinically accepted practice just like going to your therapists office is today.”
This new initiative hinges on a tested, successful model built by RAD over the last few years. Celebrated by the United Nations, called on by the WHO, RAD is a radical group of gamers changing mental health care – they’ve supported over 36,000 people with their universal mental health care system across 133 countries. And hold a 93% success rate, with 97% of people loving their care.