A gaming YouTuber hid a secret mental health message in one of his videos

Suicide prevention charity CALM hacked the video timeline of a walkthrough by DanTDM

Published On
Feb 04, 2022

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Suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is reaching out to young male gamers who are struggling with their mental health, in a collaboration with top U.K. YouTube gamer DanTDM.

The campaign, by London agency Recipe, hacks the YouTube video timeline to reveal a hidden message, midway through a video by DanTDM, known for his gaming walk-throughs that have attracted over 25 million subscribers to his channel.

He starts off with a walk-through of the game Subnautica, and everything seems normal until he invites viewers to hover their cursor over the video's timeline. On doing so, a series of words reveals a hidden message: "I'm feeling really down. I'm in over my head. I can't take this much more and I don't know where to turn. I need help." The video ends by encouraging viewers to reach for help at CALM's website.  



The idea to target gamers continues CALM's efforts to reach out to an audience of young men in particular, who have more a tendency to bottle their emotions. The charity's recent innovations also include a collaboration with Netflix and Ricky Gervais' series "After Life" to place branded benches in parks encouraging people to connect with those around them and think about bereavement.

CALM's campaign also follows efforts by others to use gaming as a way to get people to open up about their feelings, particularly in the pandemic when many people's only connection with others might be through the medium of videogames. In 2020, a campaign by The Community, Skillshot and Rise Above the Disorder invited players to partake in therapy sessions while playing games, while the Ad Council has also used gaming as a way to get people to check in on the people they are connecting with online. 

“At a time when people’s mental health is increasingly coming under strain, we know it’s not always easy to tell your friends or family when you’re struggling," said CALM chief executive Simon Gunning, in a statement. "In 2021 alone, the CALM helpline had over a million minutes of potentially life saving conversation, that’s answering a call for help every 59 seconds. With Dan’s help, we want to challenge the culture that prevents someone from opening up and seeking the help they need. This film highlights how things can easily get lost between the lines when it comes to talking about our feelings, and not to always take things at face value if you think someone close to you is feeling down.”

"The last two years have been tough, particularly for younger people whose lives have been disrupted," DanTDM added in the statement. "That is why I wanted to get involved in this project and use my platform to help others who may be feeling low; to try to help them understand that it’s ok to struggle. Nobody is alone with these feelings. Gaming has been a lifeline for many during the pandemic, but being able to game hasn't stopped people finding it hard to open up about how they really feel. I want to see if the gaming community and beyond, can come together to encourage players and streamers to talk and support each other, because the more we open up and talk about the way we feel, the less of a stigma there is around it.”