ACSM Launches Mentally Safe Minecraft Server

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The Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) uses Minecraft as a way to provide a safe space for young people to have fun and connect with mental health supports.

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The Saskatchewan Division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) uses Minecraft as a way to provide a safe space for young people to have fun and connect with mental health supports.

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Minecraft is a video game that allows users to play online together and create almost anything they can imagine from virtual blocks.

The ACSM server has in-game signs for local mental health or crisis support phone numbers. A Discord server has also been set up where players can chat. ACSM mental health workers will also be on Discord, a social media platform for players, and players can talk to them privately if they need help.

Jay, who asked that her surname not be published, is a 19-year-old Regina resident who suffers from anxiety and depression. She has been an avid Minecraft player since she was seven years old and helped ACSM set up their server.

Jay has experience building Minecraft servers for family and friends. She said the game had been good for her mental health by helping her relax.

“I guess the idea of, like, you’re building something and doing something towards a bigger goal, which makes me feel like I’m contributing or building towards something, which is a really good boost to have and a nice confidence boost,” Jay said.

A screenshot of ACSM's Minecraft server hub world which features a replica of Mosaic Stadium.
A screenshot of ACSM’s Minecraft server hub world which features a replica of Mosaic Stadium.

Rebecca Rackow, director of advocacy, research and public policy development at CMHA’s Saskatchewan branch, said her organization has heard people say that online gambling can cause a lot of damage. bullying and intolerance, which could have an effect on people’s mental well-being. So they decided to create a positive place that could be supportive. Rackow said he was inspired by other social justice initiatives that have been built into Minecraft, such as libraries or art galleries.

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“We thought it would be a good idea to do something like this. Create a mentally safe space for people to just play and talk about things, and without that judgment there,” Rackow said.

The ACSM Minecraft server has three worlds: a creative space, a survival space, and one with mini-games. The Creative World has a pirate ship, in reference to the Last Saskatchewan Pirate song played during the Roughrider games. There will also be special events and group mental health coaching.

The Minecraft server was created by young people for young people, but Rackow said ACSM welcomes anyone who wants to participate. All they ask is that users show up with a positive attitude and respect each other. Moderators will be on hand to make sure things are kept respectful and to weed out anyone violating the rules of conduct.

Information on how to join the Minecraft and Discord servers can be found on the CMHA website at sk.cmha.ca. The project is sponsored by the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation and the RBC Foundation.

mmelnychuk@postmedia.com

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