Esports organization Cloud9 is raising awareness for mental health

Cloud9 is helping raise awareness for mental health.
Image: Riot Games

Any fan of professional gaming is familiar with the name Cloud9. As one of the biggest esports organizations out there, it has captured championships in multiple titles and its players are some of the best in the world. Now, Cloud9 is partnering with Kaiser Permanente on a new initiative to increase awareness about mental health.

Doing so will allow players to share the importance of mental health with their massive fan base. Meanwhile, the program will help the organization’s players work on their own mental health. The initiative will be streamed on Twitch (in true gaming fashion) and is designed to last multiple years.

Presence of Mind

Mentally, pro gaming is just as rigorous as any other professional sport. Players must learn how to compete under pressure and control their emotions if they hope to succeed at the highest level. All of that can take a toll on one’s mental health.

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That’s why Cloud9 is teaming up with Kaiser Permanente to do something about it. Yet, at the same time, it will use its societal influence for good by raising awareness for mental health and working to decrease the stigma around it.

The initiative, dubbed Presence of Mind, is broken up into three parts. First, Cloud9 players, coaches, and staff will receive professional mental health training. The organization will then air a Twitch series that focuses on increasing mental health awareness. Finally, community moderators on platforms like Twitch and Discord will be educated so that they can facilitate positive discussions regarding mental health topics.

Jack Etienne, Cloud9’s founder and CEO, says, “[This initiative] couldn’t be coming at a more critical time where there’s massive need for support. Our fan base and our players are under an unprecedented amount of stress. So [the initiative] is really well-timed, and having a partner like Kaiser Permanente gives me a lot more confidence going into this next split.”

Phasing In

Cloud9 plans to start phasing in its new mental health initiative with players on its “League of Legends” team. Always a contender at the “League of Legends’” Championship Series (LCS), Cloud9’s squad is formidable. Since it also has the largest fanbase, it’s a natural place to start.

Right now, the “League of Legends” team is enjoying its offseason. The organization plans to educate team managers and coaches ahead of the start of the summer season. Various mental health awareness strategies will then be implemented when the team prepares for matches throughout the season.

As for the Twitch series, Cloud9 and Kaiser Permanente are still working out the details. Don Mordecai, the latter’s national leader for mental health and wellness, says, “Esports influencers and Kaiser Permanente experts will connect on different episodes to talk about gaming and mental health, including topics such as coping during the COVID-19 pandemic and combating burnout.”

Even those who aren’t fans of Cloud9 are likely to enjoy the series and may learn something useful. It is expected to debut in about a month and will definitely be worth checking out on Twitch.


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