PAX East 2021: Gaming streamers are frontline workers, not mental health experts

Look I accomplished very little.

From PAX East 2021 Since that little virus has been around for over a year now, it’s no surprise that it’s evoking themes in the gaming arena. In fact, do this ‘Dr Kelli Dunlap, mental health developer triển Worryand Interactive Media and Gaming MFA candidate Jocelyn Wagner worked on peer-reviewed research on the mental health of people who streamed during COVID-19, and that’s the topic of a panel this week at the conference.

Although there is a lot of research on threading user, the streamers themselves seem to be getting much more research. Dunlap notes that at academic conferences, mental health peers often don’t even know what Twitch or live streamers are saying. We. Although it wouldn’t be a surprise Moral Panic Pandemic Game to this day, the fact that many people have switched to broadcaster during COVID instead mental health professionals say something not only about the stigma of mental health but also about its accessibility. Despite the fact that two-thirds of all presenters are in the mental health field, streamers in general are Not mental health professionals and should Not treated as such, but they were pushed by their community into the role of frontline responders.


Reference list

Before we dive into the matter, I’d like to start with some speaker-recommended references that people can use if they’re going through a mental health crisis.

  • Mxiety’s website is a good starting point, especially if you’re just getting to the point where you need help.
  • Safety in our world is another good starting point, especially for gamers and those in the game industry, and they also have international resources.
  • Do this, which Dunlap is a part of, is a good resource for US-based gamers and industry insiders, as they have staff and recommended doctors who are familiar with the hobby. ours in particular.
  • Crisis text line acts as a means of quick assistance to any U.S. citizen during a major crisis requiring immediate mental/emotional help.
  • Online Gambling and Harassment Hotline pretty easy to understand and quite relevant to our US community members, though please note that they are only available in the evenings daily.
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline emphasize that you don’t have to commit suicide to make a call; You can get support from friends or deal with revelations that someone close to you is committing suicide.
  • Twitch Cares It can be a very simple trick for streamers to link up if they find themselves in a situation where they’ve been asked to be a therapist but are nervous about fulfilling that role.

Remember, even if the streamer is a licensed therapist, they are not your therapist. It’s best for friend where you start with some of the resources above and then seek personalized help through an expert. I know from personal experience that some people may be eligible for free help through their agency or health care provider, even if through a service provided by The Affordable Care Act of the United States. In fact, the streamer-as-therapist-but-not-really-is the crux of the research problem.


“I’m not a doctor, but I play on Twitch”

One thing that kept coming up during the team’s research was the streamers’ experience of being pushed into the therapist position. Starting from 62 candidates reduced to 19 participants, streamers (all with at least one year of pre-COVID experience) have experience with community members, public or private , reveal mental health crises to them.

This is neither new nor COVID specific. The team has found evidence of people using internet personalities as substitutes for mental health workers as early as the internet’s airing in the 1990s. But COVID seems to have made it happen more often. . As one streamer told researchers, there are always community members that need extra attention, but suddenly… everybody, including streaming players.

While Dunlap is a trained professional, she is not the norm. Most people who stream are obviously entertainers. One big “no-no” that a professional clinician adheres to is not trying to treat patients with problems for which they themselves are being helped, but live streamers suffering from anxiety and their own depression offered at least a pair of ears if not real advice to their community. Dunlap notes that she feels completely comfortable describing many streamers as frontline mental health responders, even though streamers aren’t trained and capable of delivering words of wisdom. bad advice, as their actions in times of crisis and the emotional impact of those crises are consistent with the actions of professionals trained in similar situations.

It should be noted, streamers are not doing this as some kind of self-promotion. Indeed, streamers often point out that even when they find themselves struggling with mental health issues, they feel guilty about wanting to take a break or not engage in issues. someone else’s subject. They also feel as though they owe it to their community to be educated and give some advice. The problem is that many people don’t know where to look but Google or occasionally contact one of the researchers themselves due to their reputation as live streamers.

While the Twitch Cares page we noted above is available, most streamers are unaware of it, and one even laughs at its existence. No one seems to trust Twitch to help anyone with mental health issues. The researchers note that Twitch is above average in taking mental health seriously, but worrisomely, accessing the Twitch Cares page from the homepage – hidden behind six sub-menus – is as difficult as finding the complete page. money back on Amazon. If Twitch is interested in that, the link will be found directly on the homepage.

Now it can be easy to let the streamers come out of the hook. In general, most “real” celebrities are not reachable by a streamer. They can stay away from social media and still make big money, while even a main character can lose about 1/5 of their subscribers if they are absent from their stream for 48 hours, it will directly affect their revenue. The whole reason streamers get paid is that they’re accessible, so time away from their community can be seen as lost content for users.

What’s worse, however, is that one’s ability to reach one’s favorite streamer is completely unique compared to most other celebrities, feeling more like traditional Japanese. Geisha, which are basically celebrities for personal entertainment, rather than modern music or movie stars. This distinction is quite important when someone says, “This musician saved my life,” which can rarely be literally true when applied to a streamer, with whom fans can actually communicate directly. .

While this can be very rewarding for fans, the lack of boundaries can be stressful not only for streamers but for the community as a whole. An interviewed streamer noted that streaming is also a way to relieve stress. The live streamer didn’t want responsible for keeping everyone happy, and a single emotional community member in the chat can bring everyone down regardless of how hard the streamer works to create an upbeat atmosphere.

At the end of the day, the pressure to be both a performer in the community and as a personal therapist is mentally and emotionally draining for streamers. While about 3 million of the roughly 7 million pre-COVID broadcasters dropped out in the first month of the pandemic, Mxiety noted that many streamers often talk about burnout and guess it’s pretty high in the field. this. The lack of training and support while simply trying to be an entertainer has certainly worn many streamers over the course of the year.


Wishes for the future

When streamers are asked what problem they want to solve, the first thing is resources. In particular, they want to make it easier to connect people to mental health resources and professionals. However, as noted before, the vast majority of mental health professionals have no idea what streaming is, to say nothing of the problems that streamers experience when acting as an individual. non-volunteer hotline staff.

What’s worse is that streamers also want something more than links and hotlines. People who regularly seek mental health often don’t want to be referred elsewhere, and I’ve had people in crisis tell me just as much. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re a non-professional suddenly asked to listen to a stranger’s very personal suffering when someone is on the verge of doing something with deadly consequences.

I’m not sure exactly what these people or streamers expect, as mental health is more than simply throwing up emotions and walking away. It’s about looking at your own habits and changing them. That being said, researchers suggest something like psychological first aid training. While most streamers may not want to act as a frontline therapist, those who are genuinely interested will likely take a course so that in emergency situations they can rely on into some form of training to put fans in crisis, as well as themselves, through a number of difficult situations until a trained professional can step in.

Streamers and their communities are resilient. They find ways to cope, from emotional breakdowns to in-game tributes we’ve all read about or attended. However, many fans need to remember that their favorite live streamers are Not really their friend and definitely not their therapist even if it’s their job. We’ve talked before about how MMOs might not be the big communities we usually think of but “socially saturated environment“In which others are spectators rather than partners. I argue that emotionally broken people are, in that moment, thinking more about themselves than about their community, which is natural for someone in crisis.

I say this not to embarrass people, but to remind readers that the use of the above resources should be Firstly the path to restoring one’s mental health to a workable level. It’s good to talk about everything, but our friends and family aren’t always equipped to deal with a crisis. They may love and care for us, but even our adults are not always spiritually mature, especially during a time when people around the world are checking their mental health. Be proactive about your mental health, and as much as you can love a streamer, it’s not their job to save your life. It’s up to you and the people who actually train to help you do it. Use them and later back to your favorite streamers so you can enjoy them while they do the work they really want to do, you know? That’s really the way friend can help save of them life.


PAX East 2021: Gaming streamers are frontline workers, not mental health experts


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