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Video game developer and nonprofit team up to support vets through times of crisis

A video game controller (Free Use/Max Pixel)
March 05, 2020

A video game developer is teaming up with a nonprofit that’s helping support veterans in need of mental health help.

Wargaming, the developer of the popular World of Warships online video games, announced Tuesday it is donating 100 percent of its proceeds of a special, limited-edition in-game bundles, to nonprofit StackUp’s Overwatch Program (StOP), in an oepration called Operation Lifeboat. The StOP program aims at helping provide critical support to veterans. Wargaming’s goal is to raise $100,000 to the program.

“We are very excited and hope Wargaming’s decision to put a link inside World of Warships directing veterans to get the help they need is the first in what could be an amazingly beneficial trend in the online gaming community,” said Stephen Machuga, founder of Stack Up. “This could start a new way of providing veterans the mental health support they need in a space where they feel comfortable — in the comfort of their own homes playing video games.”

World of Warships is a free, historical, online combat game where players command naval fleets of some of history’s most iconic war vessels. Its partnership with StackUp, which was founded in 2015, a natural one as the nonprofit brings veterans and civilians together through a shared love of video gaming.

According to StackUp, it has helped more than 35,900 U.S. and allied service members get through deployments and recover from both traumatic physical and emotional injuries.

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Through the use of an online chatroom application popular with gamers called Discord, StackUp will provide a team of trained and certified crisis-intervention volunteers to support veterans.

“Since we talk about it so much in the gaming community, mental health is such a huge thing that is finally getting the attention that it deserves,” one testimonial says. “We’re putting some weight behind what mental health actually means. That it is a part of your body that you need to keep healthy just like anything else.”

According to a survey, 74.4% of World of Warships players who are serving or have served in the military play video games with other active or former service members. Many veterans have reported that video games help with not only with managing moods and stress, but also with adaptive coping, feelings of competence, and opportunities for leadership and socializing, according to a study published by Social Science and Medicine in 2018.

These studies and surveys support the idea that veterans play online video games as a way to connect with their peers, making StackUp’s StOP program a great tool to help them in times of crisis.

“We know a lot of our players are veterans, so this partnership seems natural for us,” said Artur Plociennik, Regional Publishing Director for World of Warships. “We are honored to have the opportunity to support Stack Up’s mission of bringing comfort and friendship to veterans in need.”