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Playing computer games for Mind was a way of giving back

Thursday, 04 April 2024 Andrew

When Andrew’s wife Olivia, 29, was struggling with her mental health, the Mind Infoline was the first phone call they made. Here Andrew, 29, from Hampshire explains how Mind helped them both and why he decided to dedicate a 15-hour gaming marathon to fundraising for Mind.

While some people might find the idea of playing 15 hours of computer games a dream way to spend their day, for me it was a way to give back to Mind for the support my wife and I received from the charity last year.

I suffer with anxiety and my wife, Olivia, has depression, and last year she started to feel suicidal.

We had no idea what to do, so we called the Mind Infoline where we spoke through our problems.

They were amazing. They kept us calm and took the time to listen to us. I felt they really cared. They signposted us to the NHS and also to resources on the Mind website, which they said I was also welcome to use.

“I don’t know what we’d have done if we hadn’t called the Infoline. Without Mind we might not be here now.

We also called them a few more times while we waited for the NHS appointments to come through. I don’t know what we’d have done if we hadn’t called the Infoline. Without Mind we might not be here now.

So last year when Olivia saw Stream for Mind fundraiser advertised on Facebook, we knew we had to take part. There were a few options you could choose including Stream five hours for the one in five children with a mental health problem who wait for over six months to see a mental health specialist. You could stream 15 hours for the 1 in 15 people who attempt suicide over the course of their lifetime. Or Stream 23 hours to show your commitment to fighting for mental health in 2023.

Suicidal thoughts

We chose to stream for 15 hours as that was closest to our situation because Olivia had struggled with suicidal thoughts. We decided to do it all in one day despite the fact we could have split our challenge over weeks or months.

I love to play computer games I use them to relax, and find playing helps my anxiety. I tend to play Nintendo games such as Zelda and Pokémon, and only for around three hours at a time. I use Twitch, a computer game streaming platform which is a bit like You Tube where you can play computer games and talk to other people.

To start our challenge I set up a fundraising page and kept it updated with a timetable of the games we would play and when. We tried to keep it interesting for everyone who was supporting us. It also helped us not to get too bored either – it might sound like fun, but 15 hours is a long time to stream computer games.

Josh and I wore silly wigs – I had a long pink one that my sister-in-law gave me and Josh had a blue one

We took plenty of short breaks – 10 to 15 minutes every few hours. But I was still on screen for 15 hours and because it’s live there’s a lot of talking too. My friend Josh, who lives nearby, and Olivia were supporting me and taking turns to play alongside me.

Josh and I wore silly wigs – I had a long pink one that my sister-in-law gave me and Josh had a blue one. At one point we ordered a Chinese takeaway and ate that live on Twitch too.

Raising the profile

We raised £462.50 for Mind, but it was also important to raise the profile of the charity.

For anyone unsure about contacting Mind, I say do it. It can be scary and feel anxiety-inducing to reach out and talk, but Mind really do care and really do help.

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