The UK games industry is supporting a new Play & Talk Weekend running from Friday 8th October to Sunday 10th October with the aim of giving thousands of players advice on positive mental health.
A number of leading UK games companies will be running a range of activities over the weekend and promoting messages on social media to encourage players to find time to play games and talk with their friends to support their mental health.
Headline activities include:
- An Apex Legends tournament from Gaming Merchant and Simply Ashton, with the support of the team from Electronic Arts in the UK.
- A panel at EGX dedicated to games and mental health, featuring Ellen Rose from Outside Xtra and Rosie Taylor from Safe in our World.
- A Friday evening stream from Futurlab highlighting Powerwash Simulator to demonstrate the calmer side of play.
- Mental health messaging being included in games by Codemasters to support the Every Mind Matters campaign.
A wide range of UK games companies will also be posting supportive messages on social media, directing their communities to advice on how to manage their mental health.
Other companies and individual influencers are also being invited to participate and support the cause by talking about key campaign messages online to raise awareness of mental health, and by donating to charity partners Mind, Safe in our World and The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
The campaign is also partnering with the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) Better Health Every Mind Matters initiative, which is set to offer further advice on protecting and improving mental health. Players will be encouraged to complete a free NHS-assured Mind Plan, answering five simple questions to receive a personalised action plan of tips and advice to support their wellbeing.
“We hosted our first Play & Talk weekend in June 2020 to bring players together during lockdown,” said Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie. “With Covid having taken a considerable mental toll on all of us, we want to come together again as an industry to encourage players and streamers to talk and support each other.”
Ian O’Reilly, Head of Community & Events Fundraising at Mind, said: “When we decided to launch our first ever streaming fundraising product last Spring, we had already noticed a growing trend of more fundraisers choosing to do gaming and streaming activity for Mind. We were also aware that gaming offers some positive benefits to our mental health. In our recent survey of people with mental health problems, we found that a third of young people said they had coped with the pressures of the pandemic through gaming. Playing games can help us to relax, socialise and find peer support, as well as providing a way to keep our mind stimulated, occupied and challenged.
“Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the gaming community has united to raise over £500,000 for Mind. This money helps us to be there for as many people who need us as possible by enabling us to continue to provide services like Mind Infoline, which offers confidential information and support, our legal line, and our online peer support community for adults, Side by Side. We are really grateful to this incredible community for their ongoing energy and passion in gaming for better mental health, and we look forward to what’s in store over Play & Talk Weekend.”
“We are so fortunate to be in an industry where the goal is to make incredible interactive entertainment that people enjoy all over the world,” said Samantha Ebelthite, Commercial Markets Director for Electronic Arts and Vice Chair of the Ukie board. “Video games help billions of people connect with one another through play and during lockdowns online play has been a lifesaver for people who would otherwise be on their own. We know how important these connections are to our players and initiatives like Play & Talk are crucial in reminding us all to reach out and talk with people, whether they be new connections or old friends.”
Clare Perkins, Deputy Director of Personalised Prevention, OHID said: “We are pleased to be working in partnership with Ukie’s Play & Talk weekend, to help players take positive steps to look after their mental health. There are little things we can all do to improve our wellbeing and it’s important to find out what works for you. The Every Mind Matters campaign has lots of tips and advice to help get you started, such as the free Mind Plan quiz with personalised ideas to help boost your mood and feel more in control.”
Companies and streamers who wish to support the Play & Talk weekend can still let us know they’re getting involved, either through the Ukie website or by using the #PlayandTalk.
Head to www.ukie.org.uk/playandtalk for more information on how to participate.