Mental health and streaming can have a very fine line between them. Streaming can also be a huge in opening the lines of communication when it comes to mental health due to the broad audiences that can be brought together to talk about things.
Before I even begin I think I should mention that this is one of the MOST if not IS the most important thing to remember when it comes to streaming and mental health is this:
STREAMERS ARE NOT THERAPISTS AND VIEWERS ARE NOT THERAPISTS.
It is very easily for a viewer to forget that streamers are not therapists especially if a streamer is very open with a community. You build a relationship and connection with them or their other viewers too. Mind you, Normally streamers don’t mind hearing about a shitty day you had, however there is no need to jump into the details of that either. For me sometimes I mention if I’m asked how my day was I say not the greatest but here to relax and turn it around. Which is a great way to kind of mention your feelings and yet not bring down the damper of the chat. Also, by not being super specific you aren’t putting any pressure on people to try to fix the situation. Some streamers don’t mind hearing about the details but you don’t want to make the whole tone of the stream go down either. Remember, This is not your stream. And sometimes if you are close to a specific person with in the community sending a message would be more beneficial to a person/friend then airing everything out in chat while a content creator is live.
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Now the flip side to this, Streamers, Don’t treat your viewers like they are your therapists. Sure, a lot of streamers who start their streams will talk about their day so far or some things that happen. And that’s okay. What is wrong (In my opinion) is when a streamer spends the next 6 hours repeating the same complaint or problems waiting for chat to magically give them an answer to fix said problem when they could have probably taken the day off of streaming and dealt with whatever their issue was for the day. It can really put a damper on streams not to mention, If you have viewers who have come to your stream to get away from a problem they may be having, coming to a stream that might not change their mood or mind off of something (Even if temporarily) might be a quick way for them to go else where. I know someone who once wanted to have their stream as an “open mental health channel”. What did it turn out to be? It turned out to be them complaining and talking about the negatives in their life for weeks and months to their viewers and then again feeling bad in tweets and things why they never seen any growth.
This also includes trama dumping. This is when a viewer will come into a streamer who is live, and talk about their major issues for the day, week, month and put the streamer on the spot or even their chat to respond. This also includes when celebrities pass away and viewers come into chat to announce that yes, so and so has passed away. This is something that is entirely unfair to the streamer since we have no idea the relationship or meaning that these statements can have on them especially while they are live.
There are great opportunities to however mix streams with Mental health days, Where chat can vent about issues and streamers kind of moderate them. Coping strategies are great as well too since everyone copes differently and hearing how others have overcome adverse issues in their lives. There is a time and place for things and sometimes streamers even have a specific spot in their discords for things like this as well too. If you know a streamer who has these days tune in, you may be able to learn a few strategies that could help you with anything you may be seeking some help with.
Another thing to remember, As a streamer, You are ALLOWED to take a day off. Whether you are sick, mentally drained, or simply put you don’t feel like streaming. From someone on the outside streaming looks easy, or fun, or no strain whatsoever on a person. That would be wrong. Trying to entertain people for a period of time can be emotionally draining and taxing to someone. And there is a good chance if your day is going crummy and you hit that live button you will also project onto your stream that you are in a bad mood. Sometimes its easier for us to click live for fear we are feeling bad or “Grinding” out time. Take time to have a break. Don’t apologize if you don’t want to. For me myself, I have missed quite a few streams in the last few weeks why? I have had my 2nd child and trying to balance a newborn, with a toddler, and a blog, and a crafting business I would like to get started too. Do I post late if streams aren’t happening? Normally. Do I feel bad? You bet. But at the end of the day, I’m not going to sacrifice myself missing out on sleep (or sanity) in order stream.
Whatever you decide to have an open line of communication in your streams or you are a viewer seeking this. It is totally okay. In today’s world mental health should be in the open and the stigma should be gone. That being said, no amount of venting in streams or in discords will help the same way as a licensed therapist or psychologist would. There are just some situations when you actually have to seek professional help in case there is deeper meaning or reasons why someone feels the way they do. It is totally okay to reach out to others but as people who become friends online, or sometimes in cases seem like family, unless we have proper school and credentials it can be extremely hard to help someone. Even if you have dealt with the same situation os even similar, one way does not fit all when dealing with mental health. Though a lot of times listening to a problem can be a huge help. It isn’t always the only thing that someone may need.
And, Last but not least again, TAKE DAYS OFF IF YOU NEED TO! Don’t force yourself to stream or really do anything if you aren’t feeling it. Sure its okay to feel bad, However self care is IMPORTANT in anyone’s life. No matter what the profession, Taking a personal day is great for anyone!