The Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association is partnering with the popular game platform Minecraft to bring mental health support to young people across the province. A special mentally safe Minecraft server has been created to provide a fun and safe online environment for people to seek mental health assistance.
Rebecca Rackow Director of the advocacy and research for the Saskatchewan Branch of the CMHA, says gamers will be given the opportunity to engage in discussions around mental health, and have access to programs facilitated by the CMHA through the game.
“If a person wants to look at help lines, there will be signage within the game. If someone asks for help, they can know it is safe and confidential and they can give us enough information to help them.”
Rackow says that CMHA support staff who play the game will be available to support gamers. The program will also offer a chat group on the popular platform Discord.
One of the programs key funders is the Saskatchewan Roughriders Football club. Support of the Riders has allowed the server to feature Mosaic Stadium as the spawn point when players enter the game.
“It’s pretty cool. You can tell it’s Mosaic stadium. It’s Minecraft so it is pixelated. You are on the field and can see the Rider’s logo on one side of the field. There is a big Jumbotron. It feels like you’re there.” says Rackow.
With online gaming increasing in popularity the Canadian Mental Health Association believes programs like this one will help reach an extended audience and provide people with trustworthy and professional information.
Rackow encourages people who might need help to reach out.
“If you are feeling like you might be struggling or need help, or someone you care about might need help – please direct people to get help when they need it, and do it early so these things can be managed.”
Gamers can access the Discord link here .