Announcing Sidekick: The Video Games Mental Health Journal

sidekick journal with colored game-themed icons on the cover

“I remember we were having a discussion about wanting to produce something physical to support folks in the games community that could give them the tools and information to support their mental health,” said Sky Tunley-Stainton, Safe in our World (SioW) Partnerships & Training Officer and SioW Project Lead for Sidekick. “Then Rosie [Taylor] suggested a journal, and we were immediately sold.”

Sidekick: The Video Games Mental Health Journal is a collaboration between Safe in Our World and Peregrine Coast Press (PCP). The journal is designed to be a resource focused on improving the mental health of those in the games community. According to the UKIE 2021 census, 38% of people working in the video games industry lived with anxiety, depression, or both. The national average is 17%.

“Sidekick has the potential to raise money for a charity with the potential to affect real, institutional change,” said Eryk Sawicki, PCP Project Manager and Designer. “The video games industry is notoriously unhealthy so playing a small part in changing that is pretty exciting!”

The project is co-led by Sky and Harry Stainer, Peregrine Coast Press’s Marketing and Community Manager. Rosie Taylor, SioW Content & Community Manager, co-wrote the journal alongside the two project leads and Eryk Sawicki designed the journal. Megan Dobbyn and Tristan McGuire both contributed illustrations.

“I’ve always wanted to be a journal person since I learned that it was even a thing...The idea of having a games themed journal was such an exciting concept,” said Rosie. “By combining prompted activities as well as a creative space to journal solo, we wanted Sidekick to be an easy jump into journal and self-reflection using games as the hook.”

Once the team had an idea, it was time to build it.

“We had no expectations at the start of it and the journal was genuinely a blank canvas to do with what we wanted. Brainstorming those initial pages and even nailing down the name was a great moment,” Rosie said.

Throughout the process, accessibility to these kinds of mindful and self-care activities was front of mind as many folks can struggle with how to get started in understanding their own mental health.

“My hope is that Sidekick is approachable to people who either haven’t done journaling before or who don’t usually click with typical mindfulness activities — like me!” Sky said.

The group working on the project all said one of the best parts was the collaboration between SioW and PCP to make something special for the community we love.

“I think you meet some people and you just click and I feel that way with Sky and Rosie. This project has been so fun and so collaborative that it hasn’t for one second felt like a ‘job’ but just a bunch of folks working together on something they believe in,” said Harry.

The Sidekick team also all have personal connections to the creation of this journal as both mental health advocates and folks who work toward supporting their own mental health.

“I’m always pushing to destigmatize mental health, especially in the workplace setting, so I hope our little journal has an impact on that,” Harry said. “Even if it makes one or two people feel a little less overwhelmed, we've done our job.”

Sidekick will be available for purchase at Peregrine Coast Press in Summer 2023.

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Sydney Bollinger

Sydney Bollinger

Sydney Bollinger (she/her) is an arts & entertainment and climate writer based in Charleston, S.C. She has an MS in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana.
Charleston, SC