August 14, 2019, by Sekinah Brodie
Episode #35 of Shades of Success talks about the never-ending stigma on mental health in the eyes of Ron Choi. Ron Choi is the founder of Love Gaming, an organization that uplifts like-minded individuals in the gaming space. In this interview, we tackle how some communities brush off the idea of depression and other mental issues. Ron also talks about his journey in fighting mental health in the past and how Love Gaming is also helping others on the same journey in the eSports industry. Listen to the interview here.
Ron Choi is a young, passionate individual who aims to break the mold on how people should perceive mental health. He’s 20 years old, and he lives in Virginia. He’s partly Korean, and he knows how the Korean culture sees people with mental health issues as weak.
Being someone who has battled with mental health in the past, he knows how hard it is to get help and be open about the situation. He has been a caregiver to his mother, and this somehow inspired him to make a stand for people who struggle with mental health. That way, they can continue to nurture others and especially themselves.
That said, he organized Love Gaming, a platform to motivate people who struggle with mental health in the gaming space. Though this platform is still two months old, there are now almost 800 members getting their voices heard on all things eSports, health, and societal matters.
Although the name sounds a bit cheesy, Love Gaming is the most suitable name for Ron Choi’s eSports organization. The organization and its members love games and care about the issues surrounding the gaming scene.
Love Gaming is more than just an eSports organization though. It’s a close-knit family centered on teamwork, fair play, and mutual respect. The platform wants to go beyond the ordinary eSports teams. It wants its members to play games while feeling good doing it by sharing good thoughts and inspirational messages on the platform.
The organization’s primary mission is to let members speak out freely on societal issues that other communities are ashamed to talk about such as mental health, depression, obesity, and more. Although skill level and raw mechanics are essential in an eSports team, Love Gaming’s criteria for accepting members is based on three things: Humanity, kindness, and teamwork.
[00:07:31] — What was your motivation for still going to get help even though you felt like people may have been judging you or you just didn’t have the strongest support system at the time?
To be honest, at first, I just talked to my mother and told her my troubles. When that happened, she made the decision that it’s time she gets help for me and I get help for myself. She put her ego down, she put what she knows about mental health down and asked for help because she sees a lot of these kids who spiral out of control that never gets back within our Korean community, our local neighborhood. So I guess the thing about why I was able to get help is because of my mother but at the same time, I was the one who asked for help. I see so many people struggling and not being able to get back up and that inspired me to say, I cannot continue down this road, where I will not be able to be a caretaker for my mother.
[00:11:23] — What type of resources and help is available for people who have a video game addiction? Did you get any type of formal help for it?
There is not any platform to get help for a gaming addiction except maybe church resources which I’ve seen recently going around. And this was very recent after the big realization on topics about gaming and obesity and mental disorder associated with video gaming. But back in my time, there really weren’t many resources available. I guess the only thing was Wiki How on how to get away with video addiction which really was not big of a help.
[00:22:27] — You spoke earlier about realizing that you did have an unhealthy addiction to video games, how have you learned to regulate and also moderate your usage so that you can be the best version of yourself to continue being a voice for others who are going through the struggle?
I’ve cut down video games entirely in ninth grade which was a huge thing for me because I used to play 13 to 14 hours every day to zero hours which I personally don’t recommend. But I was in a very extreme situation where if I continue like this there would’ve been no point of my father working in Korea while he keeps giving us the opportunity in the United States while my mother is trying to get schooling for me.
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