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10th October 2021
World Mental Health Day 2021

While we tend to write about writers in dark forests or ever-shifting houses, today to mark World Mental Health Day, we wanted to talk about something a little different.

The internet and particularly social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives. Particularly over this past year, I don't think anyone could have really predicted how heavily we would come to rely on it, whether we are just checking the news/advice, catching up with friends, or using it for work. It can be an incredible force of good, but it also has the power to negatively impact our mental well-being.

2020 made a lot of us think about our "worth" as statistics or productivity. As remote working became the norm, it blurred the lines between home and work, reshaping our support structures and routines. Our worlds became reliant more than ever before on the internet for connection and direction. In a digital world, we are so focused on influencers, the dream of productivity, and our digital worth that we lose sight of things that really matter, such as our mental health. Before we can do good and do the things that we're happy and proud of, we need to make sure that we're okay. 

Naturally, if you have any concerns about your mental health, the best place to get advice is from your GP or local mental health organisation. Making that first step can feel daunting but you're not expected to know all the answers, just to know how you feel.

There are a number of groups that can help you understand mental health better, how to take steps to improve yours, and where to go if you need further advice...

Every Mind Matters

First up is Every Mind Matters, a project run by the NHS to help you pinpoint which areas of your life you want to improve (e.g better sleep) and how to get there by building your "Mind Plan". While the NHS is part of the healthcare system in England, the website doesn't look to be location-restricted, allowing you to start to create a free mental health plan wherever you are in the world. 

Start your Mind Plan, HERE!

Safe In Our World

Safe In Our World is a mental health charity focused on helping to spread awareness within the games industry. Video games can be an incredible source of escapism, but it's also an industry where crunch isn't uncommon for developers and so much of its presence is online. As well as featuring an extensive directory of mental health organisations, SIOW also offers training (including free mental health first aid training to Community Managers) and shares stories of mental health from those in the industry. 

You can learn more about Safe In Our World, HERE

Take This

Another mental health organisation situated in the games industry is Take This. As well as holding panels on mental health at conventions, they also set up the AFK Room which gives the gaming community an area to escape to when stressed or overwhelmed at expos. While the organisation is based in the US, its website is filled with research accessible anywhere in the world. 

Visit the Take This website, HERE.

Mind

Up next is Mind, an organisation that not only provides advice for people with mental health issues but also lobbies the government to make a greater impact on lives. While it's an England and Wales-based group, the advice they give is universal. Not only does it provide clarity into what worsen mental health (including societal issues), but also on how you can support others who are having a difficult time. 

Visit the Mind website, HERE!

WHO (World Health Organisation)

The final organisation that I wanted to spotlight is WHO, and chances are that after this past year you're already incredibly familiar with them if you weren't before. WHO has a fantastic page providing advice on how to deal with stress, depression, and feelings of suicide. 

Visit the WHO website, HERE



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