A new charity initiative called Safe in Our World is launching today, coinciding with the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Day. Veterans of the games industry started Safe in Our World, a non-profit organization, to provide support and help raise the general awareness around the mental health issues that can affect both developers and gamers. The announcement today also coincides with the first International Games Summit on Mental Health, closing today in Toronto.
From the Safe in Our World website, gamers and games industry workers can find resources on how to cope with several common mental health issues including depression, excessive stress, anxiety, insomnia, loneliness, and anger. The site will also share stories from people in the games industry who have been through mental health issues of their own, with advice on how others can get the support they may need to improve their mental state. Safe in Our World will help share mental health resources globally to work towards improving access for everyone.
Additionally, Safe in Our World will also work towards promoting and showcasing video games that directly highlight issues of mental health. The first “interactive short” game Safe in Our World will spotlight is Fractured Minds, developed by 2017 BAFTA Young Game Designer Award winner Emily Mitchell. Fractured Minds aims to share Mitchell’s own personal experiences and the positive effects that games can have individually and socially, and will be published by Wired Productions for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Switch.
The Safe in Our World organization was founded by Wired Production’s Leo Zullo and Neil Broadhead and LittleBig PR’s Gareth Williams, with additional support from 2K veteran Al Hibberd and Wired product manager Aaron Cooper. The organization “welcomes the interest of video game developers, publishers, service providers and content creators in how they can support the charity,” according to their press release.
The video games industry creates worlds for a huge number of vulnerable people, and it is our duty to help and support them.
In the press release for Safe in Our World, Zullo states that “we can reach them and share this message if we work together; we can actually make a difference […] Safe In Our World is the first step in these efforts, and we’re delighted with the response within the industry and the partners and individuals who are joining this initiative.”
With an increasingly large segment of the world’s population participating in some way in games and video game culture, and the WHO stating that one in four individuals experience some form of mental health issue during their lives, Safe in Our World has the potential to make a major difference for people working hard in the games industry and those that love to play by making it easier to ask for and find help when it’s needed, especially for men who as a demographic are less likely to seek help for mental health issues and are more likely to die as a result of suicide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Anyone looking to get involved with Safe in Our World’s mental health mission is encouraged to participate by donating, becoming a partner, charity streaming, or becoming an ambassador here.