What a year for CheckPoint! And we only existed for half of it!
I’ll take this opportunity to say, from my heart, thank you so much to everyone who has supported us in any way, and helped us to realise this dream of starting a charity connecting my two favourite things – video games and mental health. We have already achieved so much, and it’s all because of you.
We literally cannot grow without our community rallying behind us, and I’ve seen such acts of generosity and people really open themselves up to us. It’s inspiring and incredibly validating. Thank you.
2016: The Year in Review
With everyone’s help, we have managed to cram as much activity into our year as possible. This included:
- Actually establishing our work as a non-profit organisation and getting charity registered. Not a small feat! Our birthday is June 6th.
- Collaborating with the awe-inspiring ReachOut Australia, to bring wellbeing spaces to conferences all over Australia.
- Pioneering the ReachOut Room at AVCon in Adelaide
- Implementing an outstanding ReachOut Room at Oz Comic-Con Brisbane and Oz Comic-Con Sydney
- Being invited to represent the field to an exclusive event for young Australians – Junket 2016
- Speaking to world-leaders in simulation tech about the benefits for mental health in game sim – at the Australasian Simulation Congress
- Brought video games to a young and very vulnerable population in collaboration with WEAVE for Mad Pride
- Providing our first lecture: Mental Health for Game Dev, as Keynote(!) of IndieCade GameU in LA
- Continuing the trend with talks throughout Melbourne International Games Week, including “The Representation of Mental Illness in Storytelling” at Unite, and “Your Mental Health is Not an Optional Side-Quest” at GCAP
- Hosting a space in the Diversity Lounge at PAX Australia to connect attendees with some great apps for mental health
- We got approval from the National Research Ethics Committee to complete an international study on the psychological benefits of video games
- Recruited 40 fabulous volunteers!
- Published numerous informative articles about clinical studies around games and wellbeing
- We were included as collaborative partners in ReachOut Australia’s Annual Report – a real achievement for us and a significant nod from a well respected organisation
- Made a plan for absolutely smashing 2017!
Phew! I’m exhausted, but I’m totally ready to get moving and look forward to what is to come. I’m super excited about our approaching activities, and having the opportunity to realise some of our dreams. So without further adieu, this is what is to come for 2017.
The Year Ahead
We announce our Four CheckPoints – the key objectives we are going to focus on in order to connect mental health care with video games and technology.
Objective A) Bring Video Games to Vulnerable Communities
- Activity 1) Design and deliver Game Therapy sessions throughout ANZ
- Activity 2) Continue providing wellbeing spaces at events and conventions worldwide – in collaboration with ReachOut Australia
Objective B) Support Mental Health in Gaming/Tech Communities
- Activity 3) Roll out our tech-specific “Workplace Wellbeing Workshop” (face-to-face and online) – in collaboration with SANE Mindful Employer
- Activity 4) Video series on mental health, video games, and much more
- Activity 5) Continue to deliver high quality lectures at events to help game dev communities with mental health
Objective C) Strengthen Evidence for Video Game Technology (Research and Development)
- Activity 6) Clinical Research
- Activity 7) Develop a model for integrating e-CBT into psychology practice in Australia
- Activity 8) [Secret app development project]
Objective D) Improve Knowledge around Gaming, Tech, and Mental Health Implications
- Activity 9) Design and deliver “Healthy Gaming – A Resource For Young People” (face-to-face and online)
- Activity 10) Design and roll out the “Video Game Education Session” for Health Professionals
- Activity 11) Continue to provide consultation to improve the representation of mental illness in games
- Activity 12) Produce informative articles based on clinical evidence and exciting news
- Activity 13) Create a network of psychologists/other mental health professionals to share knowledge, opportunities and advice
And of course that’s not even mentioning my favourite goal of all: our establishment in wonderful New Zealand.
Also, I finally played The Last of Us, so that was pretty important.
So what do you think? It’s looking to be a busy but very rewarding time! Which is your most anticipated activity? How could we improve and what gaps have we left? I’d love to hear from you.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, that you keep playing safely, look after yourself, and continue to offer us all the support you can muster.
The CheckPoint Team <3