Mental Health Awareness + SIOW

It’s no secret that the gaming industry is incredibly volatile right now, which continues to negatively effect the mental health of game devs that are already dealing with their own issues. In fact, it isn’t an exaggeration to say that everyone hears news every day about something in the industry that is traumatic in some way.

In order to continue on with the important mission of raising mental health awareness by providing resources and support devs everywhere, we have partnered up with Safe In Our World as our studio grows. This is an incredibly important and personal partnership that allows us to better take care of our team. It also gives us the chance to contribute to the amazing work that SIOW does by the way of opening up about our experiences with mental health issues and how it’s impacted by this industry, so that others feel heard and not so alone.

A yellow square image with cartoon clouds, and a logo for Big Blue Sky Games. There is an illustrated navy outline of a propellor plane in the logo. Above the logo is text in bold blue 'NEW LEVEL UP PARTNER'.
At the bottom, there is smaller text reading 'Learn more about how you can #LevelUpMentalHealth at safeinourworld.org'

To the bottom right there is a black Safe In Our World logo.
Check out this cute graphic they created for the announcement of our partnership on Halloween of this year!

I’d like to mention that I, your author and Community Development Manager, am not only neurodivergent and struggle with OCD, but I am also physically disabled, which takes a mental toll on me as well. Sometimes I’ve hurt myself and instead of trying to push past it, and make it worse like I used to do, instead I’m now in a place where I can just take the time I need to feel better mentally and physically. I can and am encouraged to do the same if I’m having a “bad brain day” where maybe my anxiety is making it so that I feel literally frozen and cannot move from my bed. These allowances on their own have given me a form of stability and eases my mind any time these issues come up.

Luckily, I’m not alone in feeling a positive effect on mental health just by being here at Big Blue Sky Games. The fact that we’re a remote-first studio that also offers $70k minimum salary brought about a huge, positive change in the lives of many of us.

The freedom of not having to be tied to a location and in an office every day has improved my ability to think creatively, and the actual livable wage has caused me to not live in a constant state of work or starve mentality.

Having a living wage pulled me out of poverty, which drastically improved my means of living.

Crunch, overworking, burnout, and fear of taking time off can consume you and send you spiraling. While we will always have to work on how to stop this from happening, we as a team do our best to support each other during work and in our personal lives.

I’m really grateful to the people at BBSG for helping me recognize the signs of burnout and take a more measured pace. It’s made my time away from work all the more pleasant.

When my father passed only a few months after starting here, I was treated with such graciousness and kindness from everyone on the team, and it really helped me get through that. It was incredibly meaningful to be able to take the time I needed to be with my family without ever feeling stressed about missing work.

And for some of our veterans, the dream, mission statement, and values that BBSG was built on and sets to accomplish in making the industry (and the world?) better for the future has been a major uplifter.

“It’s been important to me that we focused on building this place to be inclusive, diverse, and sensitive to everyone’s health needs, because that was the support I know I needed at Blizzard (and afterwards) that no one provided.”

A lot of us came through fire to end up here, but many are newer to the industry and haven’t faced its worst abuses before. Of all the positive steps we’re trying to take, the one that makes me happiest is being able to take in these fresh-faced, optimistic, talented newcomers and help them thrive, not merely survive.

Overall, just being in a place where we can empathize and relate to each others mental health issues, where we have management that constantly make it known to each of us that we are valued and important, and above all else, a truly caring and encouraging environment has done wonders for my and many of my teammates’ mental health.

We’re not perfect – stress has, does, and will arise during game development, and there’s always room for improvement. So we vow to always find ways to work on what is best for the mental health of everyone here at Big Blue Sky Games, and hope that it can be part of a greater, much needed change in the industry as a whole.

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