When I met with Jane Cocks, co-founder of CheckPoint, at Pax Australia last year the not-for-profit was only a few months old. Who knew that six months later CheckPoint would be launching a fantastic new Kickstarter aiming at bringing to life one of their core messages: to universally improve understanding of the interactions between videogames and mental health.
Three days ago, they launched their Kickstarter campaign for a high quality, 16-episode webseries that aims to help people with mental health issues using the power of video games. Looking to raise AU$55,000, they’re already almost a third of the way there. The webseries, CHECKPOINT, will feature evidence-based advice from mental health professionals, as well as stories of lived experience from everyday heroes in the games industry. This is the first project of its kind, and CheckPoint believes it could change lives – or even save them.
The series is planned to be split into two distinct parts; the first focusing broadly on mental health issues, aiming to improve awareness and show people how to get help if they need it. The second part will look at how video games can be used to promote positive wellbeing.
Globally one in four people experience a mental illness, with two thirds of those affected never seeking help or treatment. By making it free to watch online and including hours of content, interviews, and high production values, Dr Jennifer Hazel, founder and executive director of CheckPoint, hopes that this content can be of use to even more people.
Earlier this year I shared my own story of mental health and the healing power of video games but it’s not just the average gamer who’s showing support, some big names are getting behind the cause:
— PlayStationAustralia (@PlayStationAU) May 4, 2017
Twitter today has been a bit shitty, so I’m going to donate to this video series about video games & mental health & you might want to, too. https://t.co/KPdFQiQiQO
— Lucy O’Brien (@Luceobrien) May 4, 2017
An incredible webseries that aims to raise awareness of Mental Health with the power of VIDEO GAMES needs your help! https://t.co/bHnwmRnPtT
— Stephanie Bendixsen (@hexsteph) May 4, 2017
And Josh Scherr, writer of the award-winning Uncharted series for Naughty Dog, is someone who not only plays video games, makes video games, but has dealt with a nasty panic disorder. He said, “I hope this series will encourage people struggling with mental illness to seek the help they need.”
— Josh Scherr (@joshscherr) May 5, 2017
So until June 3rd, donate if you can or try and get the word out. The Monster Marathon Fundraising Stream, hosted at Twitch.TV from May 19-21 will run as part of the campaign and will feature lots of different content creators and activities, with prize draws of amazing loot up for grabs for those who donate to the Kickstarter.
CheckPoint works toward making a better life for everyone affected by mental health issues, and believes that this can be done using video games and technology. “The gaming community has embraced our work with open arms,” Dr Hazel explains. “They have helped us get to where we are and we hope that what we provide makes it all worth it. Gaming brings people together, there’s evidence to prove games can treat anxiety, depression, improve mood, and so much more. We truly believe that we can improve the lives of people all over the world by using the wonderful power of video games – and that this is the community which will help us do it.”
CheckPoint is a non-profit organisation based in Australia and New Zealand, which acts to connect mental health resources with video games and technology.
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