Here are some tips to help you stay safe and well when you’re taking part in our streaming and gaming fundraising activities.
This page covers:
Playing games can positively impact our mental health by giving us time to relax, connect with others, or try out new life skills. Sometimes though, gaming may start to negatively impact us. That's why it's crucial to think about gaming and our wellbeing.
The positive impacts that streaming and gaming can have on our mental health include:
"Put simply, gaming is an amazing way to give yourself a break, meet like-minded people and recharge your imagination."
It's also vital that you look after yourself online – and that's true of gaming too. It's possible to become addicted to gaming. This is when you game to the point of it being harmful to you. Some signs of gaming addiction to look out for include:
You might also find yourself feeling:
If you feel like gaming is becoming a problem, talking to someone you trust can be an important first step. This could be someone close to you or a GP.
Though Sean Longhurst has played video games since he was a child, he wouldn’t have called himself a committed gamer before the coronavirus struck. But when the first national lockdown made outdoor socialising impossible, gaming became a vital way for Sean to manage the depression he had lived with for years.
“A couple of friends were playing online and said it would be a good way to stay connected.
So I started gaming seriously, and it has been an undeniably positive experience.
“I know when I’m at my worst in terms of my own depression, that’s when I disconnect from the meaningful people in my life. But when we’re playing together online, we chat using headsets, and that’s a real way of staying connected to those people. We’re also not very good, so there’s a lot of laughter!
“And gaming also gave me a focus during lockdown. It was something to learn, get better at and something that took me out of the very heavy, claustrophobic world. It was my version of learning how to make sourdough!
“Even when all I want to do is put the duvet over my head, even at those points, I might have a little game because you can play in bed, whereas with things like cycling, I would struggle to find the motivation. Gaming is so accessible, and it takes your attention as well because it’s hard. You don’t forget about depression, but it takes you out of that space a bit. It stops me spiralling and makes me feel I’ve done something positive, rather than staring at the ceiling all day.
“I hate to think what lockdown would have been like without gaming. I don’t know what would have happened with regards to my mental health.”
We have some tips on keeping your gaming a positive experience for you and your mental health. It is okay if you find these things don’t work for you, as everyone has their own way of looking after themselves. These are just some suggestions to get you started.
Streaming and gaming can have many positive impacts. Still, it’s essential to find a balance between your online and offline life for your mental health and wellbeing.
Just like in the offline world, when you’re online, it’s important to think about your privacy and how to keep yourself safe.
Protect yourself from excessive spending while streaming or gaming. Some of us might spend money to make ourselves feel better or make poor financial decisions if we are unwell. This can lead to spending that you feel guilty about later and may even lead to debt problems.
If online spending when you are unwell is an issue that affects you, see our money and mental health pages for information that may help. For more information on gaming, money and mental health, you can read more on YoungMinds’ website.
It’s essential to take regular screen breaks so you don’t strain your eyes. Using screens in the evening to play games or stream, including tablets and mobile phones, can negatively affect your sleep.
It can help to think about when and how you use screens. For example, you could try:
Whether you are watching streamers or broadcasting yourself, we have some tips on keeping the experience positive for you and your mental health. It is okay if you find these things don't work for you, as everyone has their own way of looking after themselves. These are just some suggestions to get you started.
Don't tolerate abusive behaviour when streaming or if you're online elsewhere. Block, report or mute people who bully or troll. Twitch has guidance on out how to report abusive users. Have you found a user fundraising for Mind on their stream that is behaving abusively? You can make a formal complaint about this user by filling out our online complaints form.
Streaming and gaming are great ways to take a break and connect with people all over the world. But you don't want to share too much, and we strongly advise you not to share personal information with people in games or online. If someone is asking for personal information, you can report them on your streaming channel. Here is guidance on how to report a user on Twitch and Youtube.
Customising your privacy settings to something you feel comfortable with is vital to protect your personal information. It also allows you to choose who can connect with you.
For more information, take a look at Mind's online mental health pages.
It's incredible how fast the world of streaming has grown, increasing the number of different communities you can find online. When choosing what content to watch, you may want to review the 'about' page on the streamer's account to get a feel for the sort of content they broadcast. If they are playing a game, you can check its PEGI rating.
Our streaming and fundraising challenge is not suitable for those under 16s. Still, we know many young people enjoy watching their favourite gamers on Twitch and YouTube. We recommend that parents and carers enjoy these streams together with their children in the same room and that young people have adults they can trust to talk to if they need to.
YouTube and Twitch don't allow accounts for under 13s. PEGI has great advice for parents and carers, including some gaming and internet control settings that can help regulate what content young people engage with.
We know we can't control what games people choose to play for our streaming and gaming fundraising. However, we ask our supporters to be mindful that violence, nudity and other triggering content wouldn't be appropriate for a Mind fundraiser.
If you find that things are becoming too much for you or are worried about how you are feeling or behaving, you may want to get additional support. You may find the below resources helpful:
This information was published in November 2021. We will revise it in 2024.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.