Mizzou Esports' fundraiser, Press Pause, raises over $700 for mental health care

Press Pause helped raise over $700 for mental health care on March 12.

The MU Esports team livestreamed a new fundraiser called Press Pause on March 12 on their Twitch page.

Press Pause will donate all proceeds to the nonprofit organization Rise Above the Disorder which provides free mental health care to those who can’t afford it or do not have access to it.

The stream featured multiple panels and guest speakers, including members of RAD and MU counselors. During the event, they took questions about how to better one's mental health and how to handle the stress of a college workload.

The main event was a raffle meant to incentivize participants to donate money by giving them the chance to win multiple types of gaming devices and equipment. Prizes included monitors, processors, controllers and other gaming devices.

Eric Lopez, an MU junior and the broadcast division lead for MU Esports, organized the event. While working as the student ambassador for Corsair, a gaming computer development company that sponsors the team, Lopez looked for an opportunity to enhance MU’s campus and the Esports program.

“As an organization that gets a lot from charitable donations, I thought that it would be great to give back,” Lopez said.

This is the first charity event the MU Esports team has hosted in their two years on campus, but both Lopez and general manager Kevin Reape said they hope this event shows the school that Mizzou Esports is more than just collegiate gamers.

“Press Pause allows our program to do some really cool things and stretch further,” Reape said. “It might look like we just play video games all day long, but it’s so much more than that.”

Lopez said while expanding the mission and range of the Esports team is important, tackling such a complex issue as mental health and providing students with new ways to help them heal was the top priority.

As a student himself, Lopez said he has seen the “burnout” that a college schedule can cause firsthand and noticed it was an issue that nobody was really talking about.

“I have a great opportunity to not only raise money for a great cause but hopefully have some viewers step away from this day with something new, something better, to help them,” Lopez said.

Along with raising funds for RAD, Lopez said he hopes viewers leave the event with new ways to help manage their stress and overall mental health.

“We go through a lot of mental trouble, and a lot of it doesn’t get talked about,” Lopez said. “If you start to slip, it’s really hard to get out of that rut, so if we can help some students that would be great.”

Lopez and Reape said they are excited for what this fundraiser will do for mental health and also for future opportunities to host more fundraisers through MU Esports.

“We aren’t just competitively successful, we also just want to provide as much opportunity as we can for students,” Reape said.

Edited by Sophie Chappell | schappell@themaneater.com

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