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Streaming for the future of mental health
From June 3-6, professional Twitch.tv broadcaster and streamer, @MopGarden, held a charity stream, with proceeds going towards Stella’s Place. We got the chance to ask a few questions.
Tell us about what you do and your online community.
I am streamer on Twitch.tv. Twitch is similar to YouTube but the content is mostly “live”. People watch and listen while I play online games. But Twitch is more than that. It’s a gateway to truly getting to know other people. My amazing community—I can now say I have friends all over the world—has supported me through immense personal ups and downs. I am so grateful!
What inspired you fundraise for Stella’s Place, and why is young adult mental health important to you?
I lost a friend to suicide last December. I have never felt such intense loss. I wanted to honour my friend; Twitch is an awesome online space with so many kind individuals so a week-long “charity stream” made sense. I reached out to my friend’s family for ideas. They suggested supporting Stella’s Place, and I really liked your story and the work you do. Young adult mental health is important to me because I never want anyone to go through the loss that we have experienced.
As someone who lives with anxiety and seasonal depression, I would love for mental health conversations to become part of the new normal. I want other people to have access to fast, safe, effective mental health resources—so they don’t struggle like I did.
Sometimes online gaming gets a bad rep. But recent research, like one study done by East Carolina University, suggests that casually playing video games each day could reduce the risk of anxiety and depression. How do you think online gaming can contribute to positive mental health?
I agree that gaming—in moderation—can help with anxiety and depression. Engaging with a community of like-minded individuals tells you you’re not alone. My Twitch community has had open discussions about mental health; I think knowing that you’re not “weird” is empowering. I believe that engaging with gaming communities can help with social anxiety because it can be a stepping stone to other kinds of interaction. That being said, I also believe that there are no “one size fits all” games. One person may find a certain game relaxing, while another may become anxious while playing the same one.
As someone with a large community of followers in the gaming space, do you think gaming influencers have a responsibility to promote mental health hygiene?
When approached correctly, influencers can make a strong impact. Sometimes, we’re placed on a pedestal by our followers. So if we’re not afraid to talk about our personal mental health challenges, we are paving the way for our communities to join the conversation in a safe space. I believe in influencing good mental and physical hygiene—step away from your computer, move, stretch, eat well, exercise and get quality sleep.
As a streamer, people do look up to you—and as a result, may confide in you. Many may not have the money/confidence to seek out professional help. In my own experience, it’s been quite common to have people interact with me as a therapist rather than a friend. It can be tough to draw the line. So, sending links to resources like Stella’s Place to my followers makes a lot of sense.
What message do you have for those in your community who supported you and your fundraiser?
I am absolutely blown away. I wish there was a way to adequately express my thanks for all they’ve done. These people have consistently had my back when I was going through such a difficult time. It means the world to me. I honestly believe I would not be who and where I am today without their support. I can’t say it enough, I’ll say it again. THANK YOU!
If someone is interested in connecting with you, how can they do that?
They can visit:
Your support makes you part of another special community—one dedicated to making life better for young people. All of us at Stella’s Place appreciate your generous and caring spirit! Thank you MopGarden!
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