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Leveling the Playing Field in BIPOC Mental Health

For this month’s theme, we’re focusing on BIPOC mental health, and how we can better support and uplift under-represented groups in the games industry. We’re delighted to parner with BiG to create our new diversity initiative: Leveling the Playing Field in BIPOC mental health.

In the first round of a series of industry spotlights, we’re seeking to highlight the outstanding work done by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) and to improve the visibility surrounding mental health, specifically in diverse communities. In collaboration with our friends at BiG and Jerreau, we’ve gotten to chat to each of these people to learn more about the work they do and the impact they’re having.

BAME in Games (BiG)

BAME in Games, also known as BiG, is a grass-roots, advocacy group, dedicated to improving ethnic diversity and encouraging minorities to work within the games and broader entertainment industry. They do outstanding work in the industry, including running their Games Digital Mentorship Programme. Founded in 2016, BiG has since developed into a professional network, celebrating and cultivating diverse talent within the UK. As an advocacy group, BiG is a volunteer-led organisation, open to everyone who cares about equality within the industry.


Annabel Ashalley-Anthony

Founder at Melanin Gamers

Favourite Game: AC Ezio Series

Annabel is the founder of the award-winning gaming community: Melanin Gamers, a gaming community that promotes inclusion and diversity in the video games industry. Alongside her passion for writing and gaming, she is also an avid fundraiser and regularly works with the Bloodfund an Imperial Health Charity to raise awareness and funds for Sickle-Cell Anaemia.

“We have also worked with multiple charities and organisations to raise awareness for mental health, recently we have worked with RESET MH a mental health charity that provides free services to black people in the UK. Mental health is very important to us and in 2021 we launched self-care Sundays series to provide our community members with various showcases on what self-care means including cooking classes, candle making and mediation.”

Gabriela A

Twitch Streamer & Speedrunner

Favourite Game: Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town (GBA)

“As a Twitch streamer, I try to keep my spot on the internet a safe space to openly discuss matters of mental health. I speak on my own struggles with anxiety and foster an environment of comfort and understanding.

As a speedrunner, I lend my skills to charity showcases and fundraisers for organizations like It Gets Better and Take This!”

Jerreau Henry

Content Creator & Community Manager at BAME in Games

Favourite Game: Metal Gear Solid

“As the Content Creator & Community Manager for BiG, I’m proud to work on diversity initiatives such as Games Devs Across Africa and “this” 🙂 to spotlight and encourage BIPOC leaders and aspiring gamesindustry talent. I hope the stories can uplift more people from marginalised groups to have their voices heard.”

Jerreau is also a member of the Class of 2023 Ambassadors and has been incredible in pulling this campaign together with us.

Ladell Smith

Associate Social & Community Manager at Auroch Digital

Favourite Game: Destiny 2

I am a Safe In Our World Ambassador and I will never stop talking about mental health. From my own experiences, I love to let others know that there are not alone and that they are being heard.

We recently had Ladell join us for an episode of the podcast to discuss BIPOC mental health, and how to become a better ally within the industry.

Mikayla Sinead

Founder and CEO at Bridge Network Group

Favourite Game: Way too hard a question for a gamer, but in the mix are Bully, Red Dead Redemption 2, Skyrim Elder Scrolls and Sonic 2

I have the pleasure of curating the #GameJoy series. These in-person events, industry talks, and a podcast make room for those of us from intersectional communities to connect with gaming as mental health and wellbeing tool. I’m excited to bring more #gameJoy to BIPOC in 2023.

Mikayla is also a Safe In Our World Patron, and co-hosted an episode of the podcast where we spoke to Katy Bentz.

Muse Lystrala

Executive Director and Lead Composer at Queenship Game Studio

Favourite Game: Stardew Valley

I founded Queenship Game Studio, an MWBE-qualified company making games about mental health and relationships. Our goal is to educate, to illuminate, and to destigmatize the conversation surrounding mental health, especially in communities of color.

Nigel Twumasi

Co-founder & CEO at mayamada

Favourite Game: God of War (2018)

Nigel Twumasi is the co-founder of mayamada, an entertainment brand that reaches across comics, video games and youth engagement. His use of storytelling empowers creativity and his brand promotes mental health among young people and his team through discussions that demystify and reduce stigma. In 2019 Nigel was part of the nationwide 56 Black Men campaign, and in 2022 was appointed as a member of the London Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board.

Nigel is also a Patron of Safe In Our World and joined us on the podcast to talk about his campaign ‘Do I Look Like A Gamer?’

Raccine Malcolm

Director of Growth & People / DEIB & Community Consultant

I’m a communications, DEIB, & HR/recruitment professional that specializes in empathy-driven, engagement-based community development and management. Advocating for true diversity and inclusion through psychosocially-aware community development and curation is core to my work along with ensuring that any company I work with aligns heavily with intrinsic principles of DEIB. Multicultural awareness, belonging, along with the interconnectedness of communities are some of my deepest interests and driving forces behind my work.

Raccine is also an Ambassador for Safe In Our World and was fundamental in setting up our Community Discord Safer Together.

Vanessa Sauls

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Advisor

Favourite Game: Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

I work as EDI Advisor at the Francis Crick Institute, covering a wide range of topics like disability awareness and race equity. I have lived experience with mental health and am passionate about championing wellbeing in and outside of work!

Vanessa is also a part of our DASEC, supporting Safe In Our World on their improvements in EDI, Accessibility and Stakeholder Engagement.