Dylan Jones, age 24, said he believes team coaching sessions provide needed perspective when it comes to mental health.
Jones, a competitive gamer for Crescent Esports said the sessions are beneficial because they allow you to unravel certain habits or thought patterns someone may have, such as judgment calls that put unneeded pressure on one’s self.
“I know just being able to have a platform to speak my mind and think about why I’m thinking a certain way with a second party is beneficial,” said Jones, also known as DJ Malady.
As the esports scene has exploded across the globe, the ever-constant stress to be the best can take its toll. As more digital athletes strive to venture into the world of competitive gaming, finding a delicate balance is key.
Mental health is a serious issue and when it comes to competitive gaming, the stakes are even higher.
According to an article by ESPN, mental health issues are so prevalent in esports that the problem becomes “invisible.” Social media plays its part as fans voice their opinions on a player’s mental fortitude to become a champion.
Jones said that his team’s sessions allow him to decompress; allowing him to rationalize if he is being blinded by outside factors or forming behavioral patterns.
Having this outside perspective lends itself into competing better as it provides him with a clear mind, according to Jones. With a family history of mental health issues from Bipolar disorder to anxiety, Dylan said he welcomes the open discussion of mental health in the competitive scene.
A recent study in 2018 by Mental Health America (MHA), states that 1 in 5 adults have a mental health condition. The rates of youth suffering from depression has increased from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015 with nearly 76% of them with nearly little to no treatment. Esports, a $1.5 billion-industry in 2017, is expected to grow by 60% to $2.3 billion in 2022. With money like this on the line, the pressure on players is only increasing.
Avoiding burnout is always on Jones’ mind, he said. Finding support from Crescent Esports CEO and Co-owner, Lumen Vera, Dylan says that he is learning to set his practice schedules and use time management to aide how he handles the stress.
Balancing a hefty work schedule with a practice schedule all lend itself to the amount of pressure some players, such as Jones, have on their plates. It is important to have open discussions amongst organizations and players so that all needs are being met.
“Feels like a huge weight off of my shoulders,” said Jones. “I’m glad that Crescent Esports is putting mental health as a big priority.
The only way to fight the stigma is to have open discussions about mental health in competitive gaming. You are not alone.
“It’s definitely a big deal,” Jones said. “Some think it might be small, but it lends itself into everything you do afterwards.”
For more information about mental health, visit www.takethis.org/mental-health-resources.