Take This is a non-profit charity that promotes awareness and education of mental health issues through outreach to gamers. Its “AFK Rooms” have become a staple of PAX East, West, South, and Australia, and its holiday stream gives gamers a community to help them through a challenging time of year. Soon, the organization will offer a scholarship to help those gamers who need financial assistance toward mental health counseling.
It’s been a year since Take This co-founders Susan Arendt and Russ Pitts were on Polygamer podcast episode #7, and much has happened in that time! In this follow-up, Susan and Ken discuss how the AFK Rooms have since expanded to every PAX; how mental health has been represented in some of 2015’s biggest titles, such as Rise of the Tomb Raider and Life Is Strange; the difference between anxiety as an emotion and as a clinical condition; Take This’s new 24-minute documentary; the intersection of horror video games and mental health; and how to balance helping your friends and protecting yourself.
Stream the audio edition of this interview below or from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, Overcast, Pandora, Pocket Casts, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, RadioPublic, or the Internet Archive. Click past the jump for links to resources mentioned in this episode.
Links mentioned in this episode:
- Take This: It’s dangerous to go alone.
- Take This co-founder Susan Arendt on Twitter
- AFK Rooms are at every PAX!
- It’s Dangerous to Stream Alone fundraiser: from Monday, December 28, 2015 at 12 PM EST, to Tuesday, December 29, at 11:59 PM EST. Share the holidays with fellow gamers and help raise $50,000 for the Take This Scholarship Fund.
- Gamasutra: Geoff Ellenor’s Blog – “So you wanna make video games, huh?” on whether the gaming industry is not conducive to good mental health (hat tip to Josh Sutphin)
- It’s Dangerous to Go Alone: The Story of Take This 24-minute documentary (also embedded below)
- Susan Arendt on “What I lost in Rise of the Tomb Raider”
- “Anyone else could have saved her: Life is Strange gave my personal tragedy a score” by Laura Dale for Polygon
- Ken freaks out in his Let’s Play of Life Is Strange, Episode 4: Dark Room
- Ken Gagne’s first impressions of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories