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University academic to address mental health in esports at global conference

THE challenges facing esports competitors – and the impact on players’ mental health – is to be addressed by a University of Chichester academic.

Performance psychology expert Dr Phil Birch will be speaking about his research into the predictors of mental ill health at an international conference on Thursday October 7.

The Sport and Exercise Psychology lecturer recently conducted a study into the stress and coping of elite esports players – and discovered those competing at the top-level face similar stress levels as football and rugby stars. He will be speaking at the online conference, hosted by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology, alongside a panel of experts from the global esports sector.

Dr Birch said: “It is clear to see that the psychological demands placed on esports players is high, yet more research is needed to better understand these demands and their impact on performance and player health. In the keynote panel presentations, I and other speakers will present our work in esports and discuss how to best support players to optimise performance and mental health.”

Next week’s featured keynote panel on Mental Performance in Esport: Considerations for Practitioners, is part of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology’s 36th annual conference.

The 60-minute session opens at 16:00 (BST) Thursday October 7 and will also include performance psychologist Mia Stellberg, who has coached winning teams in the DOTA and Counter-Strike world championships. Mia and Dr Birch will be joined by Doug Gardner, an advocate of player health and wellness in esports, and medical professional Dominic King, whose expertise sits in the care of competitive videogamers.

Dr Birch will also be speaking about his team’s latest research investigating the predictors of mental ill health in esports players.

For more about the conference go to www.appliedsportpsych.org.

Or read about Dr Birch’s study into the psychological pressure of esports players at www.chi.ac.uk/news/elite-esports-gamers-face-equivalent-psychological-pressure-pro-athletes-study-reveals.