Jasper’s Game Day was born out of a place of loss: when she was 14 years old, Fenway Jones lost two of her friends to suicide. “I started Jasper’s to be able to create hope and happiness for people out of my pain and heartache,” she says. “It is Jasper’s Game Day because one of my friends, his name was Jasper, he’s one of the people I lost to suicide and he was my gaming partner. He played all of the role-playing games, mostly Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons (D&D).”
Three years later, Fenway’s non-profit, through help from her father and a growing board of advisors and directors, host several events a year including Jasper’s Game Week, and members of the group attend other gaming conventions to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention. Any money raised goes to nearby crisis centers, like the one in Michigan that helped Fenway’s friend Jasper.
Tabletop and role-playing games sometimes help people in crisis. “A lot of the people that come to our events are actually people who have said that D&D saved their life—the interaction with other people, the social network—the D&D family is very strong and accepting,” notes Fenway.
This is why she makes sure that there is training available for all the board members and advisors. “A lot of our board members have taken the LivingWorks Start online training and we are hoping to be able to work with LivingWorks in the future because we just got our board of advisors—they’re all fantastic and it’s super exciting to be able to work with them—but we wanted to be able to make sure that everyone that is associated with Jasper’s and has a Jasper’s email address is trained and able to react and respond appropriately,” says Fenway.
She knows that anyone associated with Jasper’s Game Day will have people coming to them and telling them stories and asking questions. “It’s important for our people to know what to do and how to react.”
LivingWorks Start is a good place to get training when face-to-face workshops like LivingWorks safeTALK or ASIST are unavailable due to pandemic restrictions or geographic location. It can be done online in 90 minutes or less, teaches trainees to be aware that someone is thinking about suicide, and walks users through ways connect those in need to help and support. Read more about Jasper’s Game Day here and LivingWorks Start here.
Pictures courtesy of Jasper's Game Day