Mental health non-profit Rise Above the Disorder will announce this week that it has partnered with esports talent agency Evolved to offer mental health services to the company’s signed esports players and content creators. Similar to the partnership it signed with North American esports organization eUnited in January, RAD will provide access to mental health professionals to Evolved’s 260+ clients that include talent like former Overwatch League pro and Twitch variety streamer Félix “xQc” Lengyel, who has 8M followers on the platform.
RAD was founded in 2015 by neuroscientist Jason Docton after losing a World of Warcraft guildmate to suicide because he couldn’t afford mental health care. Speaking to SBJ Esports, Docton explained what some of the common misconceptions are that his organization has encountered related to mental health issues and gaming and content creators.
“Mental health in gaming, and in many ways universally, is seen as a ‘fix.’ We don’t see it that way. Nothing is wrong with you because you need some help processing some super complex season in your life. That’s hard stuff and it’s insensitive to think you’re somehow equipped to handle all that. At RAD, we’re ready to help with everything from real traumas, to just being a friendly voice to talk to. Getting therapy doesn’t have to be that serious, but if it is – we’re here for that too.”
Docton said that when it comes to professional players and content creators common problems include anxiety, depression, social isolation, burnout, imposter syndrome, and issues in their romantic relationships.
Evolved Chief Strategy Officer Chris Lloyd, tells TEO that this new partnership was born out of necessity and that the general public is finally becoming more aware and accepting of the fact that everyone in all walks of life face mental health challenges. Gaming and esports are no exceptions and face a unique set of issues with heavy work schedules and training regimens.
“These issues, unfortunately, are not unique to gaming or our clients,” Lloyd said. “Esports teams are getting wiser and bringing in coaches, managers, sports psychologists, and nutritionists, but creators are often left to fend entirely for themselves. We saw RAD as a way for us to play our part and help fill the important need for mental health services for both pro players and creators.”
Finally, Docton points out that these services being provided to Evolved’s clients are available to the general public:
“Our partnership with Evolved provides the same experience we offer anyone who needs help,” he said. “At Evolved, they’re just bringing that service directly to their clients in a proactive manner; which is really smart. Unfortunately, a lot of gamers need a nudge before they really consider their mental health but when they do, the impact is obvious.”
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