Jagex, the creators of RuneScape, today announced a partnership with three key charities to support mental health awareness, with a focus on affecting change for young people, as part of a two-year fundraising programme.
Jagex will link up with CPSL Mind, The Prince’s Trust, and YMCA Right Here on a local, national, and international level and has a target of raising £150,000 in 2017 to support their programmes. The games developer and publisher has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes in recent years, including over £100,000 for SpecialEffect in 2016.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index report, released at the start of the year, revealed that young people’s happiness and confidence are at their lowest levels since the organisation launched its study eight years ago. Over a third – 37 percent – of young people aged 16-25 admitted to feeling stressed about coping with work and school, while NEET young people (those not in employment, education or training) are more likely to feel worried about their circumstances and their future. These burdens impact the mental health of young people and increase their chances of not fulfilling their potential.
Throughout 2017, Jagex will host a series of in-game and real-world events to support the charities and promote mental health awareness. During Mental Health Awareness Week (8th-14th May), RuneScape will run a two-week long charity-specific in-game event – Gielinorian Giving – in which any currency purchased by players will be donated to the causes; in return players will receive exclusive rewards, such as an amour set and in-game pet.
Jagex will also participate in several key initiatives driven by the charities, including The Prince’s Trust career introduction programme, Get Started in Games Design, which will see young people participate in game design workshops hosted by Jagex in addition to a company game jam during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Additionally, the company will become one of the first commercial companies to join the likes of the local police service, some local NHS services, and Cambridgeshire County Council to sign a pledge supporting CPSL Mind’s ‘STOP Suicide’ campaign in Jagex’s home city. Working with YMCA Right Here, Jagex will support the organisation’s ‘Find, Get, Give’ initiative.
The programme will help young people aged 13-25 years old to find and receive support, and then give feedback around the mental health services they’ve accessed. Jagex will be assisting YMCA Right Here in the development of a mental health support networking app.
Phil Mansell, COO and Acting CEO of Jagex, said, “Our passionate and generous RuneScape community has helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for some incredible causes over the last few years. By focusing on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people through partnering with these three charities, we hope they will once again come together and help people receive the backing they need to cope with the turbulence of the world today.”
Ben Marson, Director of Corporate Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Here at The Prince’s Trust, we’ve recently seen an increase in the need for mental health support amongst the young people coming to us for help, so the focus of this partnership with Jagex couldn’t be more timely. By hosting Get Started in Games Design with Jagex, we can develop young people’s confidence and skills to improve their wellbeing and help them get a job.”
Cat Dyson, YMCA Right Here Project Manager, said, “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Jagex as part of their charitable strategy. YMCA DownsLink Group is focused on supporting young people to belong, contribute and thrive. The YMCA Right Here Project champions this approach by working closely with young people; empowering them to influence mental health work, educate others around health and wellbeing and campaign for change. We are incredibly excited about the opportunities that this partnership presents, both for the YMCA and young people across the country.”
Aly Anderson, Interim CEO of CPSL Mind said: “We are delighted that Jagex has chosen CPSL Mind – and the STOP Suicide Campaign in particular – as one of their three charities to support this year. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 and the female suicide rate in England is at its highest since 2005. However, most suicides are preventable and we are very much looking forward to working with Jagex to train more local people in suicide prevention, to raise awareness of potential suicide warning signs and to encourage everyone to talk more openly about this important subject.”
Further information on the three charities and the Jagex Charitable Giving initiative can be found at https://www.jagex.com/charitable-giving .