Take This: Game developers face serious mental health challenges

Take This, a mental health nonprofit organization geared toward game developers, released a white paper today that describes the severe challenges that game makers face as they craft their art. The paper notes the tough mental issues that come from crunch (unpaid overtime), online harassment, layoffs, and job instability. And it also looks at how…

Take This: Game developers face serious mental health challenges

Take This, a mental health nonprofit organization geared toward game developers, released a white paper today that describes the severe challenges that game makers face as they craft their art.
The paper notes the tough mental issues that come from crunch (unpaid overtime), online harassment, layoffs, and job instability. And it also looks at how game development companies can mitigate negative impacts and cultivate healthy, productive employees who can make great games.
Eve Crevoshay, executive director at Take This, said in an interview with GamesBeat that a lot of developers are aware of mental health problems, the press is publicizing it, companies care about addressing it, and society at larger is paying attention to mental health.
“It’s a moment, and what’s really exciting is we have clear interest from a number of companies,” Crevoshay said. “We are promoting a message of hope, empathy, and validation.”
When developers are subjected to internet hate from so-called fans or other haters, that can trigger mental health problems. That particular problem has seen a big increase in recent years, Crevoshay said.
Above: Eve Crevoshay is executive director of Take This.Image Credit: Take This
“The question is when to step away from the internet and put as many barriers between you and the bad experience as possible,” she said. “You can acknowledge, but not engage. The more you feed the beast, the more they respond. But it’s important to know you are not the only person dealing with it. The more you solicit support, the better.”
Developers also need to ensure they have strong computer security, layers of protection for their personal information, and awareness of groups that help like the Fair Play Alliance.
With the growth of internet hate, it’s no wonder that game developers have special problems. But the overall population isn’t exactly better off. One in five people in the U.S. receive a mental illness diagnosis in a given year and as many as one in two receive a diagnosis in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
While Take This is laying the groundwork for more study, it isn’t reporting any findings just yet. That will come during the next year or so, Crevoshay said. But she noted it’s clear that some issues need special attention, such as better diversity and inclusion in the game industry.
In Take This’ ongoing efforts, the nonprofit has been exploring current trends in the industry and how they impact the mental health of game makers and the content found in games. In interviews with industry insiders and a close review of recent press on the industry, Take This has identified three themes, or areas of concern, within the industry as they relate to mental health safety and wellness: inclusion, instability, and public interaction of employees.
Instability – T
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