About this project
To everyone who came together to make this real - we can't thank you enough.
We can now deliver a high quality, 16-episode webseries tackling mental health issues using the power of video games.
We'll keep you updated along the way, and I cannot wait to show you what we create.
The Kickstarter may be over, but you can still be part of CheckPoint:
We are a health promotion charity in Australia and New Zealand, which means your contribution is tax-deductible. Every cent goes back into our nonprofit work, connecting mental health resources with video games and technology. This project is just one of our many activities. Find out more, and become part of CheckPoint's future today.
Mental health issues are the single biggest cause of disability in young people, and one of the biggest causes of death for people under 30.
Two thirds of people never get the help that is available, because it is too expensive, too stigmatised, or they simply do not know about it.
What if we could change that? Research shows that people are much more likely to use the internet to look up their symptoms and try to help themselves, than they are to go to a doctor. We want to help these people to understand what they’re going through, find the resources that are right for them, and let them know - you are not alone.
A high quality, 16-episode webseries about mental health and video games.
That's up to 160 minutes of premium, evidence-based, potentially lifesaving information which is catered specifically to you - the player.
By showing your support, you'll have exclusive access to a whole bunch of resources and incentives that we just simply can't offer to everyone.
This includes early access to every episode, HD files of the entire series, and your own copy of the soundtrack (composed by talented YouTuber DeanCutty specifically for CheckPoint), pins, prints of the artwork commissioned for the series by the incredible Toby Allen, and credit recognition. We're also very excited that we can offer our backers the chance to actually BE part of the series itself, to contribute to its direction and become immortalised in the project.
Season 1: Mental Health Essentials
These episodes would contain vital education about each condition, with interviews with special guests who have lived experience (developers, content creators, and more).
The goal is to raise awareness, and connect with people where they are.
Depression and anxiety are so common that they are getting two episodes each. This lets us get more in depth on the physiology of these (often debilitating) illnesses, to create something that's informative and also relevant to our audience.
The season also focuses on professional aspects of mental health for those in the industry - an area that has been sorely missing in the past. It would highlight how to recognise common problems, the benefits of employee engagement, as well as how to - and why we should - represent mental illness more appropriately in games.
These are issues we already speak about at conferences, and the persistent feedback we get everywhere in the world is that there needs to be more of this! We can't afford to go to every conference so we want to create something you can access whenever and wherever you need it, that you can share with colleagues, and will rewrite the culture in this industry.
I first became familiar with Dr. Jennifer Hazel’s work after watching her presentation from the 2017 Game Developer’s Conference entitled “Invent a Game, Reinvent Yourself.” As someone who not only plays video games, makes video games, and dealt with a nasty panic disorder, the presentation spoke to me – and it’s something I wish I’d seen back in 2001, when I was going through the worst of it.
Feelings of shame, fear, and helplessness are all too common among those suffering from mental health issues; often, it makes taking that first step towards seeking help incredibly difficult. Easy to access resources, such as this video series, are often invaluable in helping people get past that initial hurdle, and as such, can be life-changing (if not outright lifesaving).
Having since met Jennifer and spoken with her at length, it’s safe to say she’s incredibly passionate about her work and dedicated to making people’s lives better. I hope you’ll consider supporting her project, and I hope this series will encourage people struggling with mental illness to seek the help they need.
Season 2: Using Games for Good
Unfortunately there is still a significant stigma around mental health issues, but we feel that with accurate and empathetic representation, this can change.
CheckPoint writes articles exploring character psychology - what makes them tick? How have their experiences shaped who they are? What really is going on inside their mind? Not only does this break down stigma by highlighting mental health in context, but it is also helpful to those who recognise their own vulnerabilities in a cherished hero.
The second part of the stream would look at the work being done to use games for positive purposes. We'll explore the current research, discussing psychology, safety and more.
If we achieve our funding goal, we will have enough money to create 16 episodes. Each would be completely free for anyone to view, all over the world, at any time.
If we charged for the resources we want to make, it would prevent the most vulnerable people from being able to access them. That's why we've come to Kickstarter.
This is a unique opportunity for you to be part of something that could change lives. As a reward for being awesome, caring about mental health, and contributing to a game-changing project, you can pick from rewards that range from pins to prints to getting your name in the credits.
The Extra Stuff Just For Backers
You can check out the reward tiers on the right. We have tried to reduce costs so we can focus on creating the best series we can for you, but we have managed to get some great incentives!
Think of your closest loved one - it could be your friend, family, partner, child. Now think about them experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety. They could be unable to leave the house, or find themselves out of work, losing friends, for a health problem they never asked for. For a lot of people, this is something that is all too real.
In 2017, depression topped list of causes of ill health. Over 26 percent of all Americans over the age of 18 meet the criteria for having a mental illness. Within 20 years, mental illness is predicted to become the leading cause of disease worldwide.
Around the world, almost one million people die due to suicide every year, and it is the third leading cause of death among young people.
This is a crisis, and one that we can change, together. We believe that this series could open to door to other opportunities which could help people.
Every year at PAX Australia, we do a panel called “More Than A Game: Playing For Mental Health and Wellbeing”. Every year at PAX Australia, that panel is packed out with the most engaged audience we’ve ever seen. We even did live research and found overwhelming results - 81% of our 400 strong audience believed games had helped them psychologically.
You - the gaming community - REALLY want to talk about mental health.
It’s clear to us this is a vulnerable population and one that deserves the right to mental wellness. That community inspired us to do what we do here.
Gaming has been a source of friendship, comfort and social belonging for many people. There is plenty of evidence to suggest games could have benefits for wellbeing:
Games are changing the world in all sorts of ways. Let's harness that.
CheckPoint are in a totally unique position to pioneer this space. We’re run by both mental health professionals and game developers, who each have years of experience in the fields contribute to the company.
Our main activities include:
- Digital Mental Health Promotion
We have a feature-rich website full of information about mental health, links to useful resources, detailed discussions of apps and games for wellbeing, and heaps more. We create and freely distribute publications which anyone can download, to help with stress and distress, and get the most out of life. Recently we launched our 3-Step Thinking Hack Pack for free.
The CheckPoint Series is one of our digital mental health promotion programs, and will add to our existing range of activities which aim to educate, raise awareness, and assist in help-seeking for people all over the world.
- Community Services
- Games Industry Services
We lead workshops for workplace wellbeing, consultancy to guide mental illness representation, and public speaking at events. We have spoken at IndieCade as the Keynote, and at GDC 2017, where our talk was voted top 5 in the Advocacy track and our speakers got a 97% approval rating.
We are currently recruiting participants for our study, "Exploring the Psychological Benefits of Video Games". Please take part!
With your support, we will continue to grow, making our mission sustainable and feasible. As a non-profit, every cent we receive goes back into the company to deliver our activities. We have to abide by strict audit conditions, so you can be reassured that everything donated through the Kickstarter goes directly into the project we’re advertising. And if you're in Australia, your pledge counts as a tax-deductible gift as we have DGR-1 status.
Our values for spending the funds:
- Scripting is done entirely in-house by our own team. No consultancy fees required!
- We are working as much as we can with organisations who do pro-bono work, to align with our socially conscious cause.
- We will feature diverse voices and be as inclusive as possible in our series.
- We truly believe that this should be relevant to the gaming community, and so are working within it with all our contributors.
Thank you so much for your time and for your attention, for anything you can give, and for any way you can contribute. We are always blown away by the support we get everywhere we go, and it validates every day we continue on our mission.
References for Mental Health Data:
Risks and challenges
We believe our mission relies on the generous contributions of peoples' time and experiences. That means we will seek diverse people who come from all sorts of backgrounds: industry experts, people with lived experience, and healthcare professionals. We need to fit it into their already busy schedules. This could lead to delays.
In addition, video production relies on a number of parties. This means there are many links in the chain where we could observe hiccups, including planning, filming, editing, post production, delivery, etc. We will do our utmost to keep all our backers updated if any such delays should occur.
At the moment CheckPoint is run by three people - one is full time (Dr. Jennifer Hazel) and the other two contribute when they can. Unexpected setbacks are a realistic possibility! We have reduced this risk by seeking business guidance and financial advice.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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