A third of all U.S. counties are losing people faster than gaining them. What will happen to them?
That's why Verizon is launching a gaming tournament.
If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.
And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.
How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.
Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.
In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.
This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.
Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.
Band of Gamers www.youtube.com
Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.
And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.
And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.
Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.
Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.
Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.
Courtesy of Verizon
As Canada's women's soccer team prepares for its gold medal match against Sweden this week in Tokyo, it also prepares to make history as the first Olympic team to have an openly transgender, non-binary athlete win a medal at the games.
Quinn, the 25-year-old midfielder, announced their non-binary identity on social media last September, adopting they/them pronouns and a singular name. Quinn said they'd been living openly as a transgender person with their loved ones, but this was their first time coming out publicly.
"I want to be visible to queer folks who don't see people like them on their feed. I know it saved my life years ago," they wrote. "I want to challenge cis folks ( if you don't know what cis means, that's probably you!!!) to be better allies."
Quinn is originally from Toronto and is playing for Canada's national team at the Olympics, though they play soccer professionally in the U.S.
According to the CBC, Quinn was the highest-drafted Canadian in National Women's Soccer League history when they were chosen by the Washington Spirit in 2018. They now play for the OL Reign based in Tacoma, Washington.
Some people have made transgender people participating in competitive athletics a hot-button political issue, prompting controversial legislation banning transgender students from school sports in many states. While Quinn's medal win will be historic, the handful of openly transgender athletes in the Olympics are not dominating their sports—which is the fear many people cite as their reasoning for creating or supporting such laws.
The International Olympic Committee established regulations for transgender athletes and it will be releasing an updated set of guidelines in the coming months, according to the CBC. While questions remain about how qualification rules will account for various gender identities and expressions, seeing trans people like Quinn succeed in sports provides visibility and representation that's long been missing.
As Quinn told CBC Sports on Monday, "Athletics is the most exciting part of my life and it brings me the most joy. If I can allow kids to play the sports they love, that's my legacy and that's what I'm here for."
Canada's soccer team narrowly beat out the favored U.S. women's team 0-1, taking the reigning champions out of gold medal contention. Now Canada and Sweden will battle it out for gold and silver as the U.S. hopes to bring home the bronze.