As much as we gamers love to talk about our favorite games, characters, and designers; it can still be immensely difficult for people suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mental disorders to talk about their own experiences and reach out to professionals and to their friends for the support they need.
After the tragic suicide of a colleague, veteran journalists Russ Pitts and Susan Arendt with clinical psychologist Dr. Mark Kline created the Take This charity to help gamers struggling with mental illness know that they don’t have to go it alone. The 501 (c) (3) non-profit charity was founded in 2013 to help in-person and online.
By offering expert advice from clinicians and running safe spaces at major video game conventions, Take This looks to support gamers suffering from mental illness, their friends and families, as well as the communities they belong to. The charity’s goal is to raise awareness about mental disorders and mental illness prevention, as well to destigmatize mental illness more generally.
For gamers who are suffering from mental illness or who are not enjoying gaming as much as they did before, Take This has guides on when to seek medical help and how to find a therapist. If you don’t struggle with mental illness, but you want to be there for someone in your guild or at the gaming table, Take This has tips and advice for you as well. Organizers of conventions and other events can learn about providing AFK rooms to give anyone who needs it a break, a safe space, and resources. If you work in the gaming industry, Take This also has information on making wellness a priority in your studio.
Take This also has a blog where they provide roundups of online mental health resources as well as gaming news for players suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. The organization has also partnered with Geek & Sundry to reach even more gamers with helpful articles.
All of their support resources adhere to the “H.E.R.E.” motto. Take This believes that “Hope is Healing,” and that by focusing on the hope now instead of the difficulties in the past, gamers with mental illness can gain momentum on the path to wellness.
“Each Person is Unique” highlights how different treatment options might work well for some but not for others, and that gamers should work with their mental health care providers to find the treatments that helps them the most.
Gamers shouldn’t lose hope if they can’t succeed immediately: “Respect Your Journey” reminds us that the path might be difficult and even overwhelming, but Take This and mental health care providers are there to help.
Every Accomplishment is a Victory” means that we each step we take toward mental health, no matter how small, is important and worth celebrating. These steps can be as simple as arming ourselves with more information, or they can be as difficult as reaching out to friends or therapists to get the help you need.
If you want to support Take This and their mission, you can share your story or volunteer your time. They also accept donations and have an Amazon wishlist where you can help them stock their AFK rooms. You can contribute to the organization through Amazon Smile, which will donate a portion of all your purchases to Take This on your behalf. This is a great option if you still have holiday shopping left to do!
Image Credit: Take This, Inc.