UK autism research charity Autistica has launched Relax Mode, an event designed to continue the conversation around mental health and raise funds for autism research.
One week on from World Mental Health Day, Autistica will host a weekend of game streaming events led by autistic people and the games community from October 18th to 20th.
Autistica Play: Relax Mode aims to bring people together to play and raise awareness of autism. It’s inviting streamers and the esports/gaming community to get involved with the event by running charity streams for example.
Autistica says that 8 in 10 autistic people experience mental health problems at some point in their life. It’s working with autistic people to understand their challenges and find solutions, but also to celebrate their strengths.
The charity says it knows ‘a huge number of autistic people are extremely talented at playing and developing video games’. It believes that working with gamers and the games industry as part of their Autistica Play initiative can present opportunities to improve autistic people’s lives and public understanding.
One esports org getting involved in the initiative is LionsCreed:
Autistica Play is led by Jake Mackey, who previously worked in the video games industry. He is keen to build partnerships that lead to better research, inclusion and awareness.
Jake said: “We know that video games can be a ‘life line’ for many autistic people. We hope that Relax Mode will create a space where people feel they can talk about autism and mental health. We’re encouraging people to create a solo stream or team up with others.
Jade is autistic and is planning a streaming event of her own. She commented: “I’m really pleased to be taking part in Relax Mode to promote mental wellbeing and de-stigmatise mental health. I have my own challenges with anxiety and depression and although it’s hard to talk about, it is important that we do. I’m nervous to do my first ever live stream but I know it’s going to a great cause, to my favourite autism research charity!”
Earlier this year, Esports News UK covered an Autistica event. Read it here: Why esports needs to understand more about autism.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.