A group of students from SAIT’s Marketing program are currently in the process of launching Mental Health Respawn; a two-weekend live streaming event featuring local streamers engaging their viewers with open-conversations about mental health.
All proceeds donated from the first weekend stream (November 7 – November 8) and the second weekend stream (November 14 – November 15) will be put towards CMHA Calgary’s programs and services.
One of the students, Michaela Tomic, said utilizing a streaming platform like Twitch will allow the project to reach more potential viewers while attracting a wide range of ages.
“We understood that going along with some of the trends in the current landscape where we are with COVID-19 that we can’t just host a bake sale, or a fun run, or anything like that, so we felt we had to be really creative how we market this to people and how to interact with our community.”
How Mental Health Respawn Works
Viewers can expect each weekend to begin at midnight on Friday evening and will continue until the late evening of the following Sunday allowing viewers in different time zones to jump into a variety of streams throughout the weekend.
To be included in the stream’s chatrooms, viewers will have to login or create a Twitch account.
Depending on the streamer, each stream will consist of gameplay, interactive activities, open discussions with their viewers, or a combination of all three.
Some streamers, if they raise a certain amount of money during their time online, will validate their goal by doing something out of the ordinary on camera to celebrate.
“I know one person offered to shave their head if they [raise their goal amount] so, people are coming up with super creative and different initiatives in their individual streams giving our audience and viewership options,” Tomic said.
As part of the application process to participate in the event, Tomic and the marketing team vetted each streamer on why they wanted to be involved with Mental Health Respawn.
“We [collected] a lot of really great stories from every single streamer that we talked to. A lot of them were connections Tina [one of the team members] had previously in her gaming experience but we’re really working on supporting those smaller streamers.”
These individual stories express how each streamer has dealt with the tribulations of mental health and how it has affected themselves and their loved ones.
One of the headline streamers, Warren Gordon, is honoured to be included in Mental Health Respawn because of his own journey with mental health.
“On a personal level, I live with depression and anxiety, and have for as long as I can remember. Streaming has been a great creative outlet for me, which has in turn helped my mental health, especially during the pandemic.”
As a recent member of the online streaming community, Gordon’s Twitch channel InTheCardinals has gained more than four hundred followers so far.
“I only started streaming in June of this year so to be picked as a headliner for such an amazing event, and even better cause, was mind-blowing to say the least! I’m looking forward to doing something I absolutely love in support for a great cause!”
Tomic and her team are encouraging Gordon and the other streamers to bring vulnerability to the stream in hopes of opening a dialogue about the sensitive yet, necessary conversations about mental health.
“Our goal is to spread that kind of really positive messaging of inclusivity and destigmatizing mental health.”
All elements of the Mental Health Respawn project were thought of and created by five team members from the comfort of their homes.
With the majority of SAIT programs still operating off-campus; students and staff have had to alter their approach to courses, assignments and projects.
This team in particular has remained optimistic due to the continued support they are receiving from school facilitators.
“I think one of the massive things that’s really helped is having that support from our instructors. To have that relationship was just so helpful to us as we were able to build off of it while we were working online,” Tomic said.
The creation of this project was also a way for the team to create a shared experience that would bring themselves and other people together who are currently in the midst of an unprecedented time.
“I feel that we’re all doing it together but I can also spread that message on behalf of myself and the team; even beyond being students—as a community—we can come together so people aren’t alone.”
For more event information about Mental Health Respawn, check out their Facebook Event Group.
¹ “40 Useful Twitch Stats for Influencer Marketing Managers,” Influencer Marketing Hub, last modified October 26, 2020, https://influencermarketinghub.com/twitch-stats/
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