North American organisation Cloud9 has partnered with health care provider Kaiser Permanente to launch a mental health campaign.

The initiative, dubbed ‘Presence of Mind,’ aims to utilise gaming as a platform to reach the youth and young adults for conversations that address mental health and wellness, according to a release.

The partnership will see mental health experts and clinicians from Kaiser Permanente work with Cloud9’s athletes, coaches, and staff to kickstart conversations with the community. This will see the launch of a new content series on Twitch, as well as mental health training for Cloud9 players and staff, and a training and engagement program for community moderators.

Don Mordecai, National Leader for Mental and Behavioral Health at Kaiser Permanente, spoke on the campaign in a release: “Our goal is that Presence of Mind will contribute to a public health movement within esports by engaging teens, young adults, and other gamers in mental health conversations. The need is even more critical in this period of stress and physical isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Members of the esports community, with Cloud9 leading the way, can support each other’s mental health while also supporting their own well-being and resilience now and long into the future.”

In a release, Kaiser Permanente described how the number of online conversations around mental health has increased dramatically since the outbreak of COVID-19, and pinpointed gaming and esports as key tools to stay socially-connected during the crisis. The project is set to commence this month with Cloud9’s League of Legends team.

Jack Etienne, Founder and CEO of Cloud9, outlined how the Presence of Mind campaign will allow the organisation to have a positive impact on fans: “Partnering with Kaiser Permanente allows us to shine a spotlight on the importance of mental health and wellness in our community, and to set an example for everyone in our industry. Gaming and esports is a refuge for so many during this pandemic, and we want our fans and our players at their healthiest, both mentally and physically.”

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