The mental health crisis among Esports players is concerning many fans and participants alike. The first official International Esports mental health forum has been announced. Organizers hope to address mental health and wellness overall, but to bring special attention to the growing impact of mental illness that is plaguing the sport because of the unique environment it provides.
The International Gaming Summit on Mental Health will take place October 9-10 in Toronto, Canada.
As the popularity of online gaming increases, more young adults are hoping to get in the sport and win big. Recent Esports tournaments have prize pools as large as 35 million dollars, which was the total prize pool for the recent International 2019: Dota 2 Championships in Shanghai earlier this week. The high prize value and huge fan base definitely contributes to the popularity of the sport. So, many want in. But, in order to get good at any sport you have to practice, which is where many of the metal health concerns arise.
Because of the physical and mental impact of gaming during competitions, players actually go under an amount of stress that is similar to those experienced by players of other sports. Research shows,on average, esports players coordinate up to 400 movements per minute. A player’s heart rate can reach from 120 to 180 beats per minute while gaming.
On top of the levels of stress gamers face during a tournament; the time needed to get ready to compete would surprise you, and the toll of Esports affects players mentally. Players practice for extended amounts of time to prepare for tournaments. Sometimes, professional gamers spend 8-12 hours a day playing to hone their skills, which isn’t very healthy, according to researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In a post by The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, researcher Chennan Liu says, “heavy gaming is not merely a symptom of underlying mental health problems like depression; in the absence of baseline depression during adolescence, heavy gaming predicted depression in young adulthood.”
The goal of this forum is to allow players the freedom to talk about the mental effects that unfortunately often come hand in hand with the sport they love.