Your wellbeing is the most important thing when you take part in Stream for Samaritans. To help, we’ve got some tips and advice for how to look after you and your community when streaming.
Things to consider before going live
Charity streamers should be 18 years old or over
If you’re under 18 ask a parent or guardian to email us at [email protected] so we can help.
How much you want to share
If you’re sharing your personal experiences of suicide or emotional wellbeing think about how it might make you feel and whether you feel ready to tell your story. You’re under no obligation to share why you’re fundraising for Samaritans. If someone asks and you don’t want to share your personal reasons you can always say something like: “I really admire Samaritans’ work and believe that everyone deserves to have someone there to listen when they're going through a difficult time.”
If your reason for supporting Samaritans involves someone else – for example, if you’ve lost a loved one or know someone who has used our services – make sure you’ve got permission to tell their story before mentioning it on stream.
People may get in touch to share their experiences
When fundraising for Samaritans, people may open up to you about their own personal experiences. This can be a positive experience, but it can also feel overwhelming. Ahead of time think about how you plan to respond to this, where your comfort levels are and what you will and won’t accept in your community.
Terms of service
Ensure your plans for your charity stream adhere to your chosen platforms Terms of Service. These are a set of guidelines about what you can and can’t do on stream. If you don’t follow the Terms of Service your account could be suspended or permanently banned.
Think about where you will livestream – is there anything in the background that you don’t want others to see? Make sure any personal or identifying information is out of shot.
While livestreaming takes place in real-time, it is often possible to view the video after the event. If you do not want your recording to be publicly available, consider using privacy settings to limit the audience.
Have a post-stream plan
Plan in advance what you’re going to do to decompress after the stream. This could be taking a walk, having a bath, spending some time with loved ones or pets – whatever helps you best.
Though uncommon, gaming disorder is a recognised medical issue by The World Health Organisation. If you find yourself feeling compelled to keep gaming over other activities, or if gaming is negatively impacting on your wellbeing, please seek support here.
If you are affected by anything on your stream or in chat and need emotional support you can find the different ways to contact Samaritans here.
Practical tips for keeping streaming safely
Ahead of your stream decide what you will and won’t be talking about, what kind of questions you’re comfortable answering etc. This can be reinforced by the rules you set for your community in general and/or your charity stream specifically.
If you’re not sure where to start with house rules, we’ve put some ideas below:
- Be kind
- Respect others
- Include everyone
- Listen to moderators
- No bullying, sexism, racism, homophobia or hate-based chat
- No joking about mental health or suicide
Signposting someone in distress
Viewers might want to share their personal experiences or talk about how they’re feeling. It isn’t your responsibility to look after the mental wellbeing of your viewers, especially if you aren’t a trained professional. Everyone’s experiences are different and what works or doesn’t work for one person won’t be the same for another person.
If someone in chat seems distressed, you can try to signpost them to support and encourage them to reach out for help. You could say something like:
“I’m sorry to hear that things have been difficult. If you’re in the UK or Ireland then you can call Samaritans free, day or night, on 116 123 or email [email protected]
If you’re in another country you can visit befrienders.org to find a similar service in your country.”
It is also good practice to have sign posting information linked to a chat command that you can your Mods can use. You can also familiarizes yourself with your chosen platform’s support and recommended sign-posting information. Here is the info on Twitch and YouTube, but other streaming platforms are available.
Consider using content warnings if you’re planning on discussing potentially triggering topics on stream. You can have a regular message to post in chat and/or verbally say something like:
“Content warning: do be aware that we may talk about potentially triggering topics such as suicide during this stream. If you do find this distressing please feel free to leave or mute the stream for a little while.”
You can then follow up with a sign posting message like the one sampled above.
If you’ve already got Mods, check that someone is available to help with your charity streams. Talk to them ahead of time about the vibe you want to create and if there’s any changes to your usual moderation policy. You might want to be stricter on a charity stream as there’s an increase potential for triggering conversations and topics to come up in Chat.
After your stream make sure to debrief with your Mods about anything triggering that came up. And take some time to celebrate your fantastic fundraising efforts too!
If you don’t have a moderator, ask a friend to watch your stream and help keep an eye on Chat for you so you can focus on entertaining and having fun with your viewers. Talk to your friend in advance about what to do if someone is not respecting you or your boundaries and make sure they know how to ban and mute people.
Blocked words and phrases
In Twitch you can choose to ban particular words and phrases from chat. Think about updating this list before going live.
This is also an effective way to protect your personal information. If you don’t want your Chat to know your legal name you can ban it being used in Chat. You can do this for any of your personal information to keep your identity safe while streaming.
Everyone has to follow the same rules
It’s great to get friends involved in charity streams. If you’re having a guest or playing a co-op game with friends, then they should all be aware of the rules for streaming to make sure you and your chat stay safe. Talk to them beforehand about the kind of tone you want to set and what kind of language/behaviour is and isn’t acceptable for taking part in your stream. And your community needs to follow these guidelines too.
Look after your physical wellbeing
Physical and emotional wellbeing go hand in hand. Make sure to take regular screen breaks and to move around. Stay hydrated and remember to have snacks or food breaks if you’re streaming for a substantial length of time.
Remember that if you need to take an unscheduled break or to stop streaming altogether, that is ok – your wellbeing comes first always.
Ready to get streaming for Samaritans?
Please note that we do not endorse nor take responsibility for any third-party resources we link to as we are not in control of their content, but they came highly recommended at the time of writing.
If you’ve got any questions or want to chat more, let our team know via [email protected].