The Mental Health in Games Slack

Callum Underwood
Jun 2, 2017 · 3 min read

I wrote a blog post recently https://t.co/2tdG25tZSt about my experience in having mental health issues and being a part of the games industry. I encourage you to read it before reading further. Since then, I had a lot (100s) of people reaching out and sharing their own stories with me, offering to help, stating that they believe something can and should be done.

To that end, I started small, with a Slack group, which seemed to be the most popular choice. Eventually, I would love for there to be a dedicated website, meetups at game conventions, facebook groups etc… but to get anywhere, we have to start small.

The aim of the Slack group is to provide a safe space for people employed in some capacity within the games industry to be able to talk about and discuss their own mental health issues, or anything else that they don’t feel comfortable broadcasting on twitter, facebook, and other spaces.

A few weeks ago I went back on my anxiety medication, Sertraline. Since then, it has been making my teeth HURT badly. I have no real space to talk about this to people that might understand other than twitter, facebook etc — and that just doesn’t feel right. This group will be as much for me as it is for anyone else. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and have done for most of my life.

Some ground rules/ethos:

1. Every person in the Slack must be employed within the games industry, in some capacity (including self-employed)

2. You can be anonymous, or display your real name in the Slack

3. To deal with the dichotomy of 1 and 2, I (Callum) will begin by personally inviting people to the slack that reach out to me, or that I know want to be part of it. I think having a single person KNOW that members are who they say they are is important, even if those members choose to be anonymous to anyone else — this stops trolls, and allows for trust

4. Harassment, abuse of the slack, or any distasteful behaviour will be dealt with immediately and with a zero tolerance policy.

If you’d like to join the slack, please do one of the following:

• Send your email address to me (@DevRelCallum) on twitter

• Send your email address to me on Facebook, if we are friends (you can also add me on Facebook first if we are not)

• Send your email address to callum.underwood@gmail.com

• Have someone else get in touch with me on your behalf

I want to make sure people are who they say they are, hence needing people to reach out directly. This is a super small industry, so I don’t think we will have problems in verifying people, as most people are connected in some way.

Thanks, this might not be perfect, and I want to start small. We have over 60 members right now! I feel someone has to do something, and this may as well be me right now.I have asked Laura Bularca to help me admin the Slack. I will likely add 2–3 more over time, if you have suggestions please tell me.

Callum

Callum Underwood

Written by

Developer Relations @ Oculus