Skip to main content
Safe Space: The Video Games Mental Health Podcast

Safe Space: The Video Games Mental Health Podcast

By Safe In Our World
The official Safe In Our World Podcast, discussing mental health in video games, the games industry and everything in between.
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

Existential Anxiety and how FFIX Helped Liam Wilson (Mental Health Month Special)

Safe Space: The Video Games Mental Health Podcast

Fighting Toxicity in Gaming with Dr Kimberly Voll (Season 2, Episode 6)
In this episode, Rosie is joined by Dr Kimberly Voll, Head of Studio for Brace Yourself Games, Co-Founder of the Fair Play Alliance and is on the Advisory Council at GDC. We discuss the previous work that Kim has been involved in, including focusing on player interactions and reducing harassment and hate within her role at Riot. Kim talks about how games companies can actively work towards putting steps in place to promote healthier player interactions in-game, but also within the workplace.  We also cover the gamification of healthcare applications and the use of gamification within education, looking into the future of what games can bring to other industries.  Kim also talks about their experience within GDC as an advisor, as well as her role as Co-Founder of the Fair Play Alliance.  Links Fair Play Alliance
August 09, 2022
The Psychology Behind Hellblade with Paul Fletcher (Season 2, Episode 5)
In this episode, Rosie talks to Paul Fletcher, Professor of Psychiatry and a neuroscientist, known for advising Ninja Theory in the depiction of mental health within video games, specifically for Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and their depiction of psychosis. Paul is also on our Clinical Advisory Board here at Safe In Our World. Paul goes into depth on he was involved within the development of the game, including the incorporation of those with lived experience of auditory hallucinations to create Senua as she is in the final game.  We also discuss the ins and outs of how clinicians can become involved in development to create real people, especially with considerations to the complexities of mental health and personality.  We also discuss our theme of July, which is the trio of nutrition, exercise and sleep, and the prospect of using planned behaviour rather than impulsive behaviour to stack the odds for us to make healthier choices.  Links Paul's Twitter Hellblade
July 26, 2022
A Fairer Games Industry with Rami Ismail (Season 2, Episode 4)
In this episode, Rosie is joined by Rami Ismail, an independent game dev and influence within the games industry. Rami was a part of Vlambeer, and is a part of The Habibis Podcast. Rami has created Meditations, developed presskit(), and is a big voice within the game dev space in advocating for change.  Rami talks about his new passion in flying, and why having something completely separate from every day life is so important to him. Rosie and Rami discuss the state of the global games industry, Rami's journey into that from developing at a young age, and the changes he'd like to see within it.  We deep dive into the #1ReasonToBe GDC Panel, it's origins from the #1ReasonWhy movement, and why it was such a powerful panel within the industry. Rami talks about the powerful games narratives that we just aren't seeing within games at the moment, and how we need to use the voices of the truly global industry in order to make it a fairer place to exist within.  Links Rami's Twitter The Habibis Podcast Rami's Website
July 12, 2022
Life Is Strange with Katy Bentz (Season 2, Episode 3)
In this episode, Rosie and Mikayla (Safe In Our World Patron) talk to Katy Bentz, aka the voice of Steph Gingrich from Life is Strange! Katy talks about her experiences as a voice actor, touching on the distinction between the games industry and the film industry, and how to handle audition rejection.  We discuss the impact of characters like Steph for the LGBTQIA+ community, and Katy's experiences playing a character that is so adored within the LIS fandom. Katy recalls some of her favourite moments from recording True Colors, as well as her favourite interactions with the LIS community.  Links Katy's Twitter / Katy's Twitch Life Is Strange True Colors
June 28, 2022
Custom Pronouns in the Sims 4 with Momo Misfortune (Season 2, Episode 2)
In this episode, Rosie and Sky chat to Momo Misfortune. Momo is a Twitch partner who is known for streaming The Sims, as well as campaigning for pronouns in the Sims, and a founder of YOUphoriaTV which is stream team focused on uplifting the voices of Nonbinary and Gender Non Conforming creators on Twitch. We discuss the incredible causes such as Able Gamers, Trans Women of Colour Collective that they have supported, and the campaign Momo made for adding pronoun options into The Sims 4 which had almost 23,000 signatures before it became a reality.  Momo talks about It Gets Better as an Ambassador and their connection with The Sims 4, and also about their experience with chronic illness and how it affects their mental health. Links It Gets Better Momo's Twitch / Momo's Twitter YOUphoriaTV
June 21, 2022
Minecraft, Medication and Matching Outfits with Sky Tunley-Stainton (Meet the Team Special)
In this special episode, Rosie is joined by Sky, who has recently joined our team as our Partnerships and Training Officer.  We talk about loneliness, and how Minecraft was a big part of helping combat it during a time where Sky and their partner were living far away from each other. We also delve into Eating Disorders, Self Harm and Medications and how conversation around such topics is fundamental to reducing the stigma.  Of course, there is cat talk, specifically that Sky has a matching outfit with her cat Jerry. Sky opens up about their work in the cinema industry in Saudi Arabia, and how she has got to where she is today in championing mental health for Safe In Our World.  Links Sky's Twitter
June 14, 2022
How to Tell Meaningful Stories Through Games with Paula Angela Escuadra (Season 2, Episode 1)
In the first episode of Season 2 of the Safe Space Podcast, Rosie talks to Paula Angela Escuadra (she/her) about her vast experience within the game development space where she has broadened the conversation around inclusivity, representation, sustainability and climate consciousness.  We talk about the importance of using games to portray important messages, and how it differs from messages within more static media such as films and books, and what steps developers can take to implement these messages in ethical and proactive ways.  We also discuss the effect that video games can have on player's introspection and identity, and how it can act as a support mechanism to those who may often feel unsafe to be themselves in person.  About Paula Paula Angela Escuadra (She/Her) has spent 12+ years elevating the power games have to redefine our relationship with failure and create meaning. She leads research for Xbox Game Studios Cloud Publishing, helping developers make great games that foster meaningful communities. She co-founded IGDA Climate Special Interest Group, co-authoring its newly released Environmental Game Design Playbook. She’s also on Cologne Game Lab’s advisory board with a focus on unlocking sustainability competencies. (Lastly, she’s a very strong advocate for community care, psychological safety, and dog cuddling as a form of self-care.) Links Paula's LinkedIn IGDA Climate SIG Cultural Heritage Game Jam Panel Discussion
June 03, 2022
From Filmmaking to Inspiring Change with Benn Wiebe (Special Episode: Meet the Team)
In this special episode of the podcast, Rosie talks to our new Strategy and Corporate Partnerships Officer; Benn Wiebe!  Benn has an incredibly varied and interesting career, from working on the Twilight film (!) to the United Nations. He talks about his passions in moving into the video games space, and actively pushing for positive change for topics such as environmental action and improved mental health support. These creative industries have the power to drive forwards positive change and make a real difference using a loved medium such as film or games. About Benn Benn Wiebe has been a social impact strategist and producer who has lived across the United States, Denmark, and the UK. As the executive producer of HF Productions Benn has overseen a global series of film festivals that champion vast perspectives and international narratives, and has advised or consulted for organizations across film and games including Netflix, The United Nations, Sony Pictures, Sybo Games, Count Us In, Vice Media, Yea! Impact, Global Environment Media, Climate Crisis Hub, and SIE Society. He is a member of the Television Academy of Arts & Sciences, Producers Guild of America, Playing for the Planet Alliance, and the IGDA Climate SIG.
May 24, 2022
From a Game of Minecraft to a Best Man's Speech with Alex King (Mental Health Month Special)
In this special episode of the Safe Space Podcast for Mental Health Awareness Month, Rosie talks to Alex King, Community Manager from Ripstone.  Alex and Rosie discuss the power of games communities, and in particular how Alex found his friendship group of 12 years through Minecraft.  There is also a wasp related incident that occurs mid-recording so, um enjoy? Rosie was very frightened. Links Alex's Twitter Ripstone - Alex's Story
May 19, 2022
Existential Anxiety and how FFIX Helped Liam Wilson (Mental Health Month Special)
In this short series of stories as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Rosie talks to Liam Wilson from Sock Monkey Studios about his journey in mental health, and how supportive workplaces are foundational to supporting our teams and employees.  We also discuss the power of FFIX in Liam's story and how a story arc within the game helped with his existential anxiety during a particularly difficult time in his life. Links Liam's Twitter Sock Monkey Studios
May 17, 2022
How Experiencing Addiction Changed My Life with Grant Hill (Season 1 Episode 20)
In the season 1 finale of the Safe Space Podcast, Rosie talks to Grant Hill, esports caster for Race to World First for Method and occasional streamer. He's previously delved into esports journalism, as well as casting for Starcraft II. In this episode, we discuss Grant's journey, including how he was introduced to Safe In Our World, and the recent Race to World First Tournament. Grant opens up about his struggles with addiction, and how it has affected his career and life over the years, including his recent overdose and subsequent path to recovery.  We also discuss the issues surrounding mental health within the esports realm, and how he thinks we could start to change the culture for the better.  Links Grant's Twitter Race to World First Method
May 13, 2022
Special Effect, Cosmic Hearts and Through Our Eyes with Paige Harvey (Season 1 Episode 19)
In the penultimate episode of the season, Rosie chats to Paige Harvey about her incredible work with the gamers charity Special Effect and the annual Gameblast event that unites gamers each year in support of the charity. Paige also discusses their work in Charity Stream Team Cosmic Hearts, which is a team of content creators devoted to raising funds & awareness for vital causes close to our hearts while championing safe, diverse & inclusive spaces online!  We also discuss Paige's work in Through Our Eyes through podcasts and streams, and the inspirations behind it.  Links Special Effect Cosmic Hearts Through Our Eyes Paige's Twitter
May 05, 2022
Mental Health Marathons with Mindset By Dave (Season 1 Episode 18)
In this episode, Rosie chats to Dave Cottrell (aka Mindset by Dave) who is a content creator, mindset coach and fellow podcaster! Dave talks about his journey into becoming a Mindset Coach and Mental Health Educator, and his previous work in challenging the stigma, including in schools. The main focus of the podcast however, is around Dave's upcoming fundraiser and mental health marathon. Instead of running a marathon of miles, Mindset By Dave is hosting a marathon of mental health interviews. A 36-hour stream with 36 different guests. All streamed live via Twitch, raising mental health awareness as well as vital funds for Safe In Our World.  We talk about the stigma of mental health challenges vs physical challenges, how we can listen to ourselves to provide the best self care that we can, and promote positive mental health whilst challenging ourselves.  Links Dave's Twitter The 36-hour marathon fundraiser
April 28, 2022
Stress-relieving games and games industry stories with Jake Kulkowski (Season 1 Episode 17)
In this episode, Rosie talks to Jake Kulkowski about his role at Dead Good Media, his podcasts with Wired Productions and Special Moves, and his career path into the video games industry. We also focus on what games we go to for our own stress relief, and the kinds of titles that enable us to relax, including the discussion around why some gamers find escapism within horror titles.  We discuss Jake's mental health story, and some of the games that mean the most to him. Links:  Dead Good Media Wired Productions Special Moves
April 21, 2022
Content, Community and Inclusivity with GeekyCassie (Season 1 Episode 16)
In this episode, Rosie chats to the lovely GeekyCassie; who is one of the most wonderful creators on Twitch, Director of Nox Lumina, Co Founder of Black Twitch UK and the Community Manager for the Noir Network! We discuss mental health through content creation and the pandemic, as well as the return to events through Cassie's recently announced Nox Lumina (an events company dedicated to catering to everyone's needs). We talk about the importance of groups such as Black Twitch UK, and the noir network, and how Cassie is uplifting other creators through these fantastic initiatives.  Links @GeekyCassie Twitter The Noir Network Black Twitch UK Nox Lumina
April 12, 2022
How Games Like Chicory and Celeste Can Help Us with Mark Flynn (Season 1 Episode 15)
In this episode, Rosie is joined by Mark Flynn, PR & Community Manager at Numskull Games, PR and Marketing Manager at Lost In Cult as well as a content creator on YouTube! Mark delves into his passions about mental health, his current projects, and his journey into the games industry. We talk about Hoa; a delightful Ghibli-style puzzle-platformer, Chicory; a painting adventure indie, and Celeste; a challenging side-scrolling platformer with mental health themes.  We cover some of the challenges surrounding content creation, especially during Covid-19 times, and what we do to take care of ourselves when these issues arise. Links: Mark's Twitter Mark's YouTube Numskull Games Lost in Cult Chicory Celeste Hoa
April 05, 2022
How Epilepsy Affects Gaming with Charlotte Callister (Season 1 Episode 14)
In this episode, Rosie is joined by Charlotte Callister, ‘New Impacts’ MCV/Develop IRL Award Winner 2021, disabled queer gamer and Press Engine Platform Coordinator. Charlotte opens up about the effects of epilepsy on her life, and how she games with that in mind. She also dives into the effects of bullying on mental health, as well as the experience of being pregnant with epilepsy. As a relatively new addition to the industry, Charlotte also talks about her experiences in joining the games world, and how she got to where she is today.  Links Charlotte's Twitter BBC Sounds with Charlotte
March 26, 2022
Borderline Personality Disorder and ADHD with Charlotte Rouget-Murphy (Season 1 Episode 13)
In this episode of Safe Space Rosie chats to Char; Distribution Manager at Bossa Studios, as well as an Ambassador for Special Effect and Safe In Our World. Char opens up about what it's like to work in the games industry with BPD/EUPD and ADHD, and how they intertwine with her wellbeing. She talks about her fantastic work supporting charity through streams, including recently Gameblast, and previously for Safe In Our World.  We discuss our all-time favourite titles, our relationships with games and mental health, and how employers can better support those with mental health conditions. Char highlights the importance of becoming an active campaigner for mental health and representation.  Links Char's Twitter Special Effect Bossa Studios
March 11, 2022
Do I Look Like a Gamer with Nigel Twumasi (Season 1 Episode 12)
In Episode 12 of the Safe Space Podcast, Rosie talks to Nigel Twumasi from Mayamada about his latest campaign: Do I Look Like a Gamer, and the importance of representation and diversity in games. We discuss the stigmatisation around the word "gamer" and the general associations with the word, and touch on how attitudes are changing around gaming and mental health.  Of course, we have to talk games, and I won't lie... a small (large) portion of the podcast may have focused around God of War and we have zero regrets. It's TOO GOOD.  Please go check out the links below on Nigel's work! Links: Mayamada  Do I Look Like a Gamer  Nigel on Twitter
March 04, 2022
Streaming & The Samaritans with Rach Henderson (Season 1 Episode 11)
In this episode, Rosie talks to Rachel Henderson from the Samaritans.  Rach is the Streaming and Gaming Fundraising lead for the Samaritans, creating a unique position in combining the world of streamers with vital awareness for the Samaritans. We talk about The Night Shift Before Christmas, where creators fundraise over shifts as the volunteers at Samaritan Volunteers do on helplines, and we share stories over the highlights of working with charities and the communities we are involved in.  If you need support, the samaritans can be reached at 116 123 or Rach's Twitter Samaritans
February 22, 2022
Psychology in Games, Gaming Disorder and Cavill Influencers with Dr Rachel Kowert (Season 1 Episode 10)
In this episode of Safe Space, Rosie chats to Dr Rachel Kowert PhD. Rachel is a research psychologist and research director for Take This, as well as a creator of content from books to her YouTube channel Psychgeist which bridges the gap between moral panic and scientific knowledge on psychology and games.  We kick off the podcast with important questions such as "What is a Cavill Influencer" amongst others, and delve into the common misconceptions around key topics surrounding the relationship between mental health and games. We touch on the finer details around how the research field has grown to become more inclusive of games in the past decade, as well as how Rachel is pushing forward positive discussion within academia and beyond.  Links The Pinned Tweet - Rachel's Twitter Thread Celeste Take This
February 09, 2022
The stories of #AudioIndustryGame with Eliana Zebro (Season 1 Episode 9)
On this episode of Safe Space, Rosie is joined by Eliana Zebro, creator of the recently released #AudioIndustryGame and audio professional in media projects. We discuss the motivations behind releasing the game, which tells the stories of marginalised gender folks and their experiences within the audio industry; including stories referencing discrimination and harrassment.  Eliana discusses their personal experiences in working as a marginalised gendered person within the audio industry and how issues are rife across creative fields. We highlight the importance of being able to tell these stories to promote positive change and transparency to those who can push for improvement from a more privileged position. Links: #AudioIndustryGame  Eliana Zebro A Mortician's Tale Stars The Little Red Lie
January 24, 2022
Exploring EDI in Games & Autistica with Dom Shaw (Season 1 Episode 8)
On this episode of Safe Space we welcome Dominic Shaw from UKIE as our latest guest.  In this episode we talk about Dom’s life; from games he enjoyed growing up through to the games industry introduction and eventually him settling into UKIE. We also go into depth about LGBTQ+, autism, dyslexia and support within the industry, as well as the journey he took to get where he is today. Dom also talks about his work with Autistica Play.  As always, we grill Dom on his all-time favourite games, and talk about Dom’s love for the Mass Effect series and how he used to skip school just to experience BioWare’s ever-growing Universe. We also go into depth about the impact that video games had in Dom’s life.   You can find Dom here on Twitter. Follow the Safe In Our World Podcast here on Twitter for clips, updates and guest interactions!
January 13, 2022
Wii Fit, Irish Accents and Caring for a Loved One with Adam Clarke (Season 1 Episode 7)
On this episode of Safe Space we welcome Adam Clarke from Game If You Are as a guest! We talk about his personal reasons into getting into the games industry, which include talking about his experience as a carer for his sister and her passion for games. We cover Hot Fuzz and the accuracy of the levels of Irish accents within Adam's world, which is surprisingly similar. Of course, it wouldn't be a Safe Space podcast without discussing games themselves, would it? Adam takes us through his most impactful games over the years, and the implementation of creating real choices for players to pave their own paths in games such as The Walking Dead and Disco Elysium.  You can find Adam here on Twitter.  Follow the Safe In Our World Podcast here on Twitter for clips, updates and guest interactions!
December 15, 2021
Code is Just with Shahid Ahmad (Season 1 Episode 6)
In this episode of Safe Space, Rosie is joined by Shahid Kamal Ahmad for a fantastic discussion covering Code Is Just, imposter syndrome, game development and personal growth. We go from games industry history to jeopardising relationships in Monopoly, and it's worth the ride. Shahid is in his 40th year of working in the games industry, and discusses how he first entered the world of game development and the struggles that he has faced on the journey; such as bullying, racism, illness and poverty. Links Mentioned in the Episode:  Code is Just Code is Just Podcast The Chimp Paradox
December 08, 2021
Exploring DEI, inclusivity and diversity within games communities with Raccine Malcolm (Season 1 Episode 5)
This week we were delighted to have Raccine Malcolm on the Safe Space podcast!  Raccine is a communications professional that specializes in empathy-driven, engagement-based community development and management. Multicultural awareness, belonging, DEI, mental health, along with the interconnectedness of communities are some of her deepest interests and driving forces behind her work. We are delighted to have Raccine as a Safe In Our World Ambassador, championing mental health within the games industry alongside us. On this episode, we discuss the importance of incorporating DEI into companies and communities, promoting inclusivity and diversity within the games industry and how mental health fits into these topics. We also chat about our favourite mental health related titles, including Raccine's all time favourites such as When the Darkness Comes and Sunshine Days.
November 25, 2021
Charity Streaming with Hannah Rutherford (Season 1 Episode 4)
On this episode of Safe Space, Rosie and Jake chatted to Hannah Rutherford on all things charity streaming. We get into some of the evolution of games, from Mario is Missing to Lara Croft, as well as the struggles that individuals face when creating content and how we can take care of ourselves. 
November 03, 2021
LGBTQ+ in games with Robin Gray (Season 1 Episode 3)
We had a conversation on the support and challenges within the games industry for LGBTQ+ communities with the wonderful Robin Gray from Gayming Magazine. We chatted representation within video games characters, groups in the industry who rally for change, and touched on tips for those entering the industry on how to find support.  Robin is the Founder of Gayming Magazine, with over 1 million monthly readers, Co-Founder of Gray Jones Media, TV producer at Parrlime Studios and a Patron of Safe In Our World. 
October 20, 2021
Twitch, Content Creation and Leading a Mental Health Talk Show with Mxiety (Season 1 Episode 2)
This episode, we chat with Mxiety (or Marie) about the work she does in broadening the conversation around mental health through platforms such as Twitch, Twitter and more. We discuss the importance of sharing our personal stories, boundaries between creators and their audience, and the pros and challenges that accompany the above. 
October 05, 2021
An Introduction to Safe In Our World (Season 1 Episode 1)
For the very first episode of Safe Space, we wanted to introduce our listeners to the Safe In Our World team, the aims and mission of the charity and some insight into why we're passionate about the conversation surrounding mental health within the games industry and beyond. 
September 23, 2021