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Speakers for Mental Health Games Summit with BAFTA Announced

This May 22nd, we are partnering with arts charity BAFTA to host a mental health summit for games industry professionals, and we’re delighted to announce the speakers and sessions we have planned.

Taking place at BAFTA’s iconic London headquarters at 195 Piccadilly, London from 9.00 am BST on Monday 22nd May, attendees can expect an open day full of keynotes, panels, workshops, and roundtables – delivered by knowledgeable industry speakers and mental health clinical consultants. 

A teal coloured asset with white pixel hearts, arrows and text reading Games Mental Health Summit presented by Safe In Our World and BAFTA

The Games Industry Mental Health Summit is open to everyone within the industry regardless of experience level and has been designed with affordability and approachability in mind. Visitors will be able to access practical advice on topics such as avoiding burnout, dealing with negative community sentiment, reaching out for help when needed, and how industry leaders can foster mental well-being across the industry. 


Tickets can be purchased here for the affordable price of £10.00 / £7.50 concessions.

The Schedule

10:00 – 10:45: Setting Boundaries
Creative & Future Galleries Rooms 2 and 3

Join this training session led by wellbeing specialists Mind Fitness on how to set healthy boundaries. You will learn that the better you become at knowing what is possible and not possible relating to healthy, sustainable work the more you will be serving yourself, your organisation and your community.


Brian Cooley is a qualified facilitator, performance coach and author of several plays, training programmes and co-author of two upcoming books: Emotional Health and Unlock Your Team. He has a diverse set of skills that have been developed working in several sectors: education, retail, telecoms, finance, digital, creative arts, hospitality, interactive entertainment and publishing. He is a passionate advocate for the redressing of systemic inequalities in society with a special interest in mental health.

Andy Barker is a certified performance coach, trainer and author with a broad experience of corporate senior management. Andy was part of the management team that launched PlayStation, growing it to a sector defining household brand. It was during this time that he developed and formalised his performance coaching knowledge and practice. He is co-author of Unlock You (Pearson 2019), which was shortlisted for Business Book of the Year in 2020.

10:15 – 11:00: Building Resilience and Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone
Princess Anne Theatre

Listen to industry veteran and Safe In Our World Patron Shahid Ahmad discuss how we can learn to be more resilient to difficult working environments, push and grow their comfort zone, and battle low confidence within the games industry. He will discuss his own experiences in success, failure and how to cope with both in a responsible way.


Shahid Ahmad, Director at Crescent Code. Shahid has been named one of Games Industry International’s Top 10 Persons of the Year and 100 Top Influencers in the British Games Industry, Develop’s 25 People that Changed Games, one of MCV’s Brit List 100 and received Develop’s Publishing Hero award for his team’s role in opening PlayStation up to developers and for commissioning over 100 titles.

11:15 – 12:00: Protecting Your Wellbeing Online
Creative & Future Galleries Room 2 and 3

Relevant for any games developer or professional on the frontline or faced with online communities including community managers, join this session led by wellbeing specialists Mind Fitness about how to protect your mental health when faced with negative community sentiment.


Brian Cooley & Andy Barker

11:30 – 12:15: Sustaining Healthy Productivity
Princess Anne Theatre

Game development isn’t easy – with tight timelines, budget constraints and high expectations, it’s important that the team’s wellbeing is looked after. In this panel, speakers will share insights on why avoiding crunch is important, how to sustain productivity in a healthy way throughout a game development cycle and how to effectively project manage to avoid overworking.


Lauren Kaye is an award-winning diversity campaigner in the games industry and the Programme Coordinator for Limit Break. Lauren is responsible for overseeing the program and making sure Limit Break’s messaging is heard clear throughout the team. Lauren has a deep passion for elevating the voices in the games industry and is excited to be joining this year’s Limit Break Mentorship Committee offering her years of experience in content creation and journalism. Lauren is MCV’s 2023 Games Campaigner and was featured on GI.Biz’s Top 100 Game Changers and her voice has been featured through notable networks including BBC, iTV, and GinxTV.

Kirsty Rigden is the co-CEO of FuturLab, an award-winning independent studio behind games including PowerWash Simulator, Peaky Blinders Mastermind and Velocity 2X. She is the co-founder of Into Games, a non-profit that supports people in joining the games industry and she was named as MCV’s Business Woman of the Year in 2019.

13:30 – 14:15: How to Avoid Burnout
Creative & Future Galleries Room 2 and 3

Join this talk led by Stuart John Chuan, a qualified psychologist, as he shares tangible tips on how to recognise and avoid burnout. He will be looking at the challenges of working from home and how that can affect your wellbeing, as well as, discussing ideas on how to build personal and business resilience.

Speaker: Stuart John Chuan initially trained as a Forensic Psychologist and qualified over 17 years ago. Since then he’s worked in a number of clinical leadership positions across prisons, psychiatric hospitals and in various community based services such as probation, police, NHS and local authority and corporate banking.

13:45 – 14:30: Functioning in Chaos: The Importance of Balance, Community and Professionalism
Princess Anne Theatre

In this talk, Cassie Hughes will share her insights and tips on her experience balancing community, creation and professionalism whilst embracing inclusivilty within our industry.

Speaker: Cassie Hughes, Director, creator, consultant, and care manager: Cassie is a streamer, creator and influencer who co-founded Black Twitch UK, a platform dedicated to highlighting the voices and content of black streamers in the UK. She is also the director of Nox Lumina, a platform for events that encourages safe spaces and educational resources as well as the managing director of a care agency that supports vulnerable adults.

14:45 – 15:30: Fireside Chat: Our Mental Health
Creative & Future Galleries Room 2 and 3

Listen to this open, informal chat between industry speakers as they share their experiences of mental health and wellbeing. We hope that this helps normalise conversations about mental health within your own circles and workforce.


George Osborn is the co-chair of GamesAid, the games industry charity, and a Director at Taso Advisory. George was previously Head of Communications at Ukie, having worked in the sector for a deacde prior to that. He has also acted as a judge of the BAFTA Game Awards on three occasions.

Rosie Taylor is an avid video games enthusiast and advocate for mental health awareness, elimination of stigma and opening up the conversation to everyone. She joined the industry in 2020, previously providing key support to charity volunteers for large events and operations, and now manages the content and community aspects of Safe In Our World. Rosie was named a Game Changer by GIBiz in 2023. Having been surrounded by games her entire life, and faced personal mental health challenges, she is passionate to work within the industry and make a difference.

15:00 – 15:45: Mental Health Representation in Games
Princess Anne Theatre

In this talk, Paul Fletcher (mental health consultant on Ninja Theory’s Hellblade) poses a series of questions to our panel on the importance of responsible mental health representation in games, and what games companies can consider when telling a mental health focused narrative.


Paul Fletcher trained in medicine and psychiatry before taking a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. He is a psychiatrist and Bernard Wolfe Professor of Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. He is interested in how video game and related technologies may play a key part in representing and improving mental health. He works with the video game studio, Ninja Theory Ltd.

Emma Taylor, RCE Wellbeing Hub and Peer Support Professional Lead. Emma qualified as a Teacher in 2007 and moved into the NHS in 2013 following a significant challenge with their mental wellbeing. She has been fundamental in embedding Recovery Colleges in both LPFT and CPFT and believes in harnessing the power of lived experience via her work within Peer Support. Emma works tirelessly to promote ‘living well with’ her diagnosis of ASD.

16:00 – 16:45: Neurodiversity in the Workplace
Creative & Future Galleries Room 2 and 3

Join Sarah Brewster of Fresh Seed and Dom Shaw of UKIE as they host this roundtable talking about neurodiversity. It’s a big topic in the ED&I world but do you know how you can support those with neurodiverse conditions in your studio? This session will share experiences, and provide you with some tools and information as well as attempt to capture what more we can do in this space.


Sarah Brewster started Fresh Seed, a plug in People & Culture service to games and the creative sector, to help the industry grow stronger. Fresh Seed is far more than HR, it offers psychological knowhow, and insight and solutions to help organisations thrive and create truly inclusive communities. As specialists in neurodiversity and the issues that face the industry we lead the way in providing expertise that’s relatable.

Dominic Shaw is the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Coordinator for the UK video games and interactive entertainment trade association (Ukie), who manages their award winning flagship diversity initiative – the #RaiseTheGame pledge, and supports other activities and initiatives around EDI. Dom is also an ambassador for the UK’s leading autism research charity, Autistica, who strive to make the games industry a more inclusive environment for autistic and neurodiverse individuals.

16:15 – 17:00: An Inclusive Industry For All
Princess Anne Theatre

How can we work to make an industry where everyone feels that they belong? This panel will tackle this topic from both a company and industry perspective. Panellists will share tips on what we can all do to truly make this an inclusive industry for all.

Robin Gray, Founder of Gayming Magazine, is the co-founder and co-CEO of Gray Jones Media, a future-thinking LGBTQ media company headquartered in Birmingham, UK, and with offices in New York City. He is widely recognised not only as an LGBTQ entrepreneur, influencer and cultural evangelist, but also as an advocate for diversity and representation in the video game and wider media world, speaking regularly at industry events around the world championing the growth of representation both in-content and in the workplace. Robin is also a proud Patron of Safe In Our World and is a fierce champion of their incredible work.

Nigel Twumasi, Co-Founder of Mayamada, is a former software engineer turned entrepreneur and the co-founder of mayamada. A keen advocate for diversity, Nigel delivers creative workshops and runs the “Do I Look Like A Gamer?” representation campaign, challenging gaming stereotypes and improving access to creative industries for future generations of diverse talent. He also serves on the London Mayor’s Cultural Leadership Board and Children’s Media Conference Advisory Committee.

Dean Barrett, is the Executive Chair at Bastion, a marketing communications agency dedicated to the interactive entertainment industry. Current clients include Amazon Games, Riot Games, Epic Games, Square Enix, Wizards of the Coast, Private Division and Ukie amongst others. The Bastion team of 25 people is based in Shoreditch, London and provides clients with product and corporate marcom services, influencer marketing through its Pinpoint brand and global marcom support through the OneVoice network which Bastion established in 1995. Dean is also Chair of Hillside Clubhouse, a mental health charity based in Islington that supports people with enduring mental illness get back into the workplace.

Ebonix, Co-Founder of Black Twitch UK. Danielle Udogaranya – best known as Ebonix – is a content creator, speaker, Twitch Ambassador, DE&I Games Consultant and self-taught 3D artist. Fuelled by a frustration with the lack of diversity and representation in games such as The Sims 4, she decided to take matters into her own hands by teaching herself 3D modelling and creating hair, clothes and accessories that she felt represented her. Her content quickly struck a chord with others in the gaming community, and led to Danielle working directly with The Sims on the addition of over 100 skintones, afro hair, and nails. Her designs have ushered in a generational change for new and seasoned Simmers, giving everyone the option to create a Sim who looks like them.


Tickets can be purchased here for the affordable price of £10.00 / £7.50 concessions.