Since launching our E-Sports programme over the pandemic, the programme has continued to support the mental health of young people across our charity programmes. In early 2020 we were lucky to receive several PlayStation consoles from Take-Two Interactive. We distributed them to young people across our London programmes who didn’t have access to a Playstation, and connected them with other young people that already had a Playstation console. From this, the E-Sports programme was formed.
The rise of streaming platforms and multi-player experiences online has given way to a new form of socialising in which players work together and speak about situations they are experiencing. The E-Sports platform has limitless potential to build a supportive and reliable community for young people and we are proud to be unleashing it.
When we first started the programme, it was simply to allow our Coach Mentors to stay in touch with our young people during lockdown. We quickly realised the benefits that came with hosting our E-Sports programme, one of which being the ability to improve the mental health of not just our young people but our Coach Mentors also.
Ryan is the Disability Programmes Manager for our charity. He shared: “E-Sports is a great way of switching off, it pauses all the worries and concerns going on and allows you to express yourself, enhance your skills and compete against others in a relaxed environment. You come away feeling relaxed and reenergised to get on with day-to-day life.”
A fantastic quality of E-Sports is it eliminates the pressures of performance and skill in physical sports. This quality helped to bring young people from all sorts of backgrounds and walks of life together at a time they were experiencing very limited social interaction.
During the pandemic, mental health problems were on the rise and our young people and Coach Mentors were in growing need of social interaction and mental health support. The E-Sports programme provided an instant solution to this, as it offered our young people a way to meet new friends and have fun in a safe environment during a time of great uncertainty.
Jack is originally a participant of our London Futures programme. He joined our E-Sports community over the pandemic. Jack shared: “It makes me feel more excited than usual, especially with friends. It is a good stress reliever after a stressful day at college. It gives me an opportunity to explore and gives me a sense of happiness playing new games.”
It has been remarkable watch our young people work together to overcome in-game challenges whilst improving their mental health. Having created this inclusive, virtual space it is clear that involvement in E-Sports can actively improve the wellbeing of young people across our programmes. We look forward to improving this programme further and helping to build a larger online community for young people to be a part of.
To hear more or get involved please head to our E-Sports Programme Page.
Written by Dean Lamb.