People tend to struggle with their mental health during the winter months. Shorter days, colder nights, and inclement weather all come together to form a potent cocktail. Those environmental can all encourage isolation, lethargy, and deprive us of precious vitamin D, all of which place additional stress on an individual's mental health.
No one is immune from a struggle with mental health, not even the kids who come into Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. From the leadership at the top of CMNH to the bottom along with the people we work with in the hospitals themselves, everyone who works for the kids cares about mental health and well-being of the kids who need help. We recognize that exercise, socializing, and getting enough sunlight isn't enough to address the underlying mental illnesses that both kids and adults face. Therapy is sometimes necessary. Other times, patients need medication to address the underlying physical aspects of mental illness.
One of the people in the Extra Life community who has been one of the most vocal advocates for mental health issues is Rooster Teeth host, voice actress, and Extra Lifer Caiti Ward. She has taken on the role of a mental health advocate by using her platform to share her journey from the perspective of someone who lives with mental illness. Her efforts have given a human face to conditions that often leave those who struggle with mental health feeling othered.
Writing about her experiences graduating from an intensive therapy program in 2015, Ward said the following:
I know that mental illness unfortunately still has a giant, belittling stigma associated with it, but I also know that one day it won’t. I choose to pretend today is that day, so I’m sharing my graduation of group therapy with you, because I am so proud of myself.
There's no shame in struggling with your thoughts and feelings - and no shame reaching out for help. Everyone needs a little help sometimes.
Mental illness, particularly depression, unfortunately affects so many of our youth. That's why we are happy that leaders in the community like Ward can come together to help those struggling in their local areas. The Rooster Teeth team has spent several years raising money for Dell Children's Hospital in Austin. One of their crowning achievements thus far has been a massive contribution to the facilities mental health ward that resulted in the opening of The Rooster Teeth Healing Garden last year.
Rooster Teeth's annual Extra Life stream will be this weekend on November 9th. Caiti Ward and the wonderful people on the team will be streaming for 24 hours to make sure that Dell Children's Hospital (and this year Children's Hospital of Los Angeles) will be able to keep helping kids heal their bodies and their minds. You can join their team or donate to their overall goal via their Extra Life page or by purchasing exclusive merch during the stream from store.roosterteeth.com.
It's never too late to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! Donations for 2019 are accepted year-round!