You may remember a write-up we published in mid-late May talking about the fantastic things that London-based nonprofit Safe in Our World is doing to bring mental health awareness to the gaming community in the most tailored way possible. Today, we’re lucky enough to bring you a similar story with a different spin.
If you’ve ever played or heard of the video game “World of Tanks”, or if you have friends that play it, then chances are that you’ve heard of the video game developer Wargaming (also known as Wargaming Group Limited or Wargaming.net). If you haven’t heard of them yet, this is going to be an excellent introduction.
In a recent article, VentureBeat helped to announce that Wargaming has officially teamed up with veteran-focused nonprofit Stack Up to bring mental health awareness and suicide prevention into the video game World of Warships, a realistic simulation of World War II naval combat.
“We’re excited to break new ground… this is a revolutionary way to get mental health services to people. Nobody has done that yet.” – Stephen Machuga, founder of Stack Up
You may be asking yourself, “how exactly are they planning to do this?” Well, the answer to your question is quite clever – they’re putting a button inside of the game that can direct the player to Stack Up’s Overwatch Program (StOP) on Discord. If you’re unfamiliar with Discord, you can check them out here, but a short description is that it is a way (a very easy way, to be honest) to communicate over voice, video, and text online.
World of Warships has close to 20,000 players across their regional servers at any given time, with about 32 million registered in total. More than 40% of the game’s US-based players have identified as veterans, and according to the article, the goal of this new service is to help make a dent in veteran suicides, which number about 22 each day.
“If someone is feeling they’re in need of mental health services, they can just push that button and they can immediately be connected to Stack Up.” – Stephen Machuga, founder of Stack Up
This new in-game service will see a gradual roll-out with a descriptive pop-up. And while the demand for such a service is as-yet unknown and somewhat difficult to measure, Stack Up has been beefing up their staff of volunteers and managers in order to respond to the demand. According to Artur Plociennik, regional publishing director of World of Warships, the button is already in the game, but so far Wargaming hasn’t been actively promoting it.
This isn’t the first time Wargaming and Stack Up have partnered up, either – earlier this year, they partnered on Operation Lifeboat, which raised $151,286 in donations – money that is going toward hiring managers to oversee the Stack Up volunteer hotline mentioned earlier.