Some time ago, Dr. K realized that talking to people one on one is not going to work. He has devoted fifteen years of his life to understanding how people and their minds work. They come into his office five days a week and he helps them individually, but that is not good enough. There is no way that he can help everyone who needs help. So we need AoE.
The world is changing, the challenges that we face are changing, mental illness is at all-time high. We have the lowest employment in men between the ages of 18 and 25. We have a suicide rate that has grown by 50% amongst adolescents over the last decade. We have video game addiction that is around 6% of the population and below the age of 18, it is 9.5%. The world is getting worse and we have the tools now to fight this.
Thus step in Twitch and Discord. This would not be possible twenty years ago. Video games keep you stuck and alone, but there are also things like discord where people can teach you how to code. There are people on twitch who will teach you how to meditate. We are playing the hard mode version of life, where the challenges we face are a lot greater than they have ever been in terms of mental health, but we also have tools and support in a way that we have never had before.
You can become a game developer from your home and you can learn how to code from Github. There is so much power at your disposal that has never been there before. Dr. K is grateful for Twitch, YouTube and all the other communities for helping spread this message because he could not have done this twenty years ago.
We are optimistic and are going to keep going. We have immense support from our community, which comes in the form of viewership, subs, etc. We are being supported so we are going to support you. We will do bigger, better and more. We are going to do it.
The Healthy Gamer twitch channel hit 100,000 followers 8-10 weeks since Dr. K started streaming in October 2019. It also hit 100,000 subscribers on YouTube in the same amount of time.
HealthyGamer has been around since late 2018. It has been a volunteer project. Five people volunteered over the first eight months of 2019, when we got a hundred subscribers on YouTube and averaged about 20-30 viewers on Twitch.
Our growth has been great and Dr. K has been very grateful for it. We now have a team of people who are helping us produce new content and making other kinds of content that may not be related to YouTube. It has been an incredible and unbelievable experience.
The twitch channel started around 2019 but the original alpha group started in 2018. Dr. K did an AMA about video game addiction and a group of about 15 people reached out to him and together they started running the group. Every week, he would spend one hour with the same group of people and they would talk about video game addiction, their lives, the mind, and meditation. He worked with this alpha group that consisted of all these people over the course of the year.
People did a phenomenal job and some of the volunteers for Healthy Gamer came out of that group. Over time Dr. K realized that it was not just about being addicted to games, and people just did not understand [mental health].
The needs of mental health are changing. The needs and pressures that are on our minds have changed, such as things like social media and unable to escape bullies. When Dr. K was in school and got bullied, he could go home and not see the bully anymore. But now, thanks to social media, Instagram, Twitter, and other such things, bullying can now occur 24/7.
We need a new perspective on mental health. The kinds of challenges that people are facing, both gamers and non-gamers are new and different.
A lot of non-gamers have begun to watch our streams. Dr. K received a message from a non-gamer in India who has started to watch the stream, so HealthyGamer is spreading widely.
The Twitch stream has developed into helping people to understand evolving issues and nuances around mental health, that a psychiatric model is not sufficient for anymore. It is not just about getting diagnosed with depression and taking an antidepressant — that will not just fix your life.
As we grew and realized that we wanted to reach a broader audience and that what we were talking about was really important, we turned to twitch and started streaming. Initially, Dr. K got a lot of feedback from his colleagues that it was really risky for him to be a psychiatrist and a doctor and start talking to people on the internet.
We tried an experiment and it worked. Devin Nash was instrumental in helping to get the stream off the ground. If you don’t know who Devin is, he has been in the e-sports industry for a long time and produces a lot of content that is beneficial to twitch streamers. He helped Dr. K realize that he could reach a lot of people through twitch streaming.
That started our journey and we have gotten help from so many people. TominationTime has been awesome in advising us about stream equipment. Other streamers that Dr. K thanks for helping us grow are Destiny, Athene, LilyPichu, Reckful, SkyWilliams, Mitch Jones, Bobby Scar, and Ethan Evans. These people have been amazing for being brave and coming on the show.
Also, a huge thanks to everyone who isn’t a streamer: MadameFae, DonutMuncher, Boolius, Krusif and everyone on the porn addiction stream. There have been so many people who have been willing to come on and came on. This stream has been built off of the viewers.
A lot of people think that HealthyGamer is about Dr. K but it is not about him. He is basically a facilitator but the AoE healing actually comes from the people who come on stream. He is not healing anyone, it is the people who come on and share their struggle, the people who are courageous and offer themselves up in terms of their mind and what they struggle with. As they work through that stuff, that is what is helpful for people.
The viewers do not resonate with Dr. K, they resonate with the people who come on stream. Huge thanks for everyone who has come on stream, everyone who has volunteered to come on stream, all the people who have helped us get to where we are, people who edit our youtube and even people who comment on YouTube. Thanks to people who comment on our subreddit and hang out on our discord (which is an amazing place now!)
HealthyGamer is all about the viewers, who are the ones making it happen. Whether their support is by watching, subscribing, donating, hanging our on discord, posting on Reddit, they are the ones building this — that is what HealthyGamer is really about.
Its been an interesting journey. Streamers talk about the fear of needing to perform and Dr. K felt that personally. He started noticing that the viewer count on the stream started mattering to him. He would check his viewer count and randomly log on to see how many viewers he had on twitch. He started to feel a pull to wanting to be bigger and that is really dangerous. While he does want to grow HealthyGamer, but he doesn’t think that that feeling was about the growth of his stream. That is not actually what we care about and what we want to care about. HealthyGamer is actually not about how big or successful we are, it is about the individual person that we talk to on each stream, and its about the viewers for watching.
Ultimately, the goal is to help people and the community. It is not about money, growth, subs — all of that stuff is helpful since it helps us grow so we are grateful for that, but at the end of the day, we got into this to help people understand how they work as human beings and how to be more successful, healthier, and happier in life. If you are held back by depression, lack of motivation or if you are a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training), if you’re a gamer or an addict, or spend ten hours of gaming, then we are here to help you.
Over the last month, Dr. K has gotten over 2000 DMs, e-mails, messages on Reddit, voicemails, etc. So the challenge is in figuring out how to help the community even more and we want to hear from the community about this.
We want the community to view Dr. K as a resource and he can spend about 2-4 hours a day working on HealthyGamer. So the question becomes — how can he help more?
The current plan is to train more coaches. Any amount of watching Twitch or YouTube is not a substitute for one on one coaching. We can talk about how the mind, brain, and spirituality works, and while we are going to continue doing those things, coaching is completely different. If we look scientifically at what constitutes a change in someone’s life — it is working with someone.
What we want to do is work with someone. We want to change the way that people get support. Right now, mental health is too expensive, too old and too slow. If you want to see a therapist, those appointments run anywhere from $5 to $500. Insurance can cover a portion of that, but sometimes insurance is expensive or bad. Getting an appointment with a therapist can take time. Despite that, one should still try to get one and see a mental health clinician if you have a problem. Our Recovering Coaching program is not a substitute for mental health treatment. It is not designed to diagnose or treat anything. But it is designed to support you. There is interesting research that shows that coaches are very effective as a group of people in helping people.
The average age of a psychiatrist in the US is 54, so the other challenge is that when one does seek mental health treatment, the psychiatrist can help them with depression but there are other things about their life that they psychiatrist does not understand.
That is why we developed our coaching program. That is where our focus has been, since Dr. K wants to train people who will follow his methodology and be able to help the community.
We are also trying to seek sponsorships and things like that because a lot of people do not have resources to pay for this stuff.
The next thing that we are working on is more longitudinal content. A lot of people have asked for more in-depth information about Ayurveda, finding your dharma, understanding addiction, and the brain. We want to build all of that stuff, but it doesn’t seem like Twitch is necessarily the best way to deliver that content. We may make a course about meditation from start to finish, techniques for insomnia, anxiety, depression, physical strength, enhancing chi or prana. The challenge is to figure out how we can create a longitudinal body of content — a curriculum.
The other thing that Dr. K wants to do is more retreats. We probably don’t have the bandwidth for it, but we had a retreat in August 2019 and gamers from all over the US came. We want to do that again. As much as AoE is important, as much as we like streaming on twitch, and as much as Dr. K loves teaching this stuff and training coaches, he still loves being with people. He wants to see people in person and work with them.
All of this would not be possible without our mods. The coolest thing about this whole experience is our mods. Dr. K doesn’t know where they came from, how they became mods, but they are doing an awesome job. The mods on our discord got together and put together a Coding Workshop to help people learn how to code. There are people in our community that are starting to help other people acquire skills that will get them jobs so that they can earn money and be financially independent. These mods came out of nowhere, but they are amazing.
Dr. K sat in on a mod meeting (which happens every week) and he found that they are so organized and so awesome. There are so many times that we have had guests who have toxic communities and they have done a really good job of keeping those toxic communities in check.
It takes a ton of courage to come on stream, and sometimes, Twitch chat is mean to people who show vulnerability and weakness. Our mods have been so awesome at shutting that down and creating a space that is positive. While we get that a lot of people like that sort of thing, that is not what this stream is about. It is not about laughing at other people — it is about learning from them and growing yourself.
In our community, people are teaching each other how to make music and code. There are even organic groups popping up that keep each other accountable in terms of exercise and things like that.
HealthyGamer is not about Dr. K, its about our staff, moderators, coaches, community. It is about the people who hang out on the discord. Its about people who hang out on YouTube, Reddit and Twitch. It is about the viewers. HealthyGamer is not Dr. K’s stream. It is the HealthyGamer stream and all of you are healthy gamers.