On Thursday, September 29, the Long Beach Post hosted an event to honor young people from around the city who are doing great things to better their community and beyond. Out of hundreds of nominations from our readers, judges chose 40 winners, representing a range of professions and activism. The Post will be profiling each honoree in the coming days.
For Long Beach entrepreneur Jason Docton, what ultimately morphed into an avenue to help others overcome their anxiety issues was initially a form of self-help for his own debilitating condition. He’s come a long way from being trapped in his apartment for four years due to his battle with depression, anxiety and agoraphobia and is now helping others through Anxiety Gaming, a non-profit dedicated to educating and treating those in the gaming community with mental health issues.
It was the gaming community that saved Docton from his own battles, initially through talking out his problems in chatrooms to physically getting him to extend his boundaries outside his apartment. After noticing the need for counseling in the online community he began using his disability checks to finance therapy sessions for low-income gamers he met online.
In 2013, Anxiety Gaming was officially founded as a 501C3 non-profit. Its aim is to connect gamers with therapists, and connect gamers with gamers by donating gaming consoles and computers to youths which helps connect them to the online presence its established within the gaming community. And like Docton’s earlier personal efforts, it helps cover therapy costs for low-income gamers. For his efforts, Docton was recognized as one of Long Beach’s 40 Under 40 last month, something he said served as validation for years of hard work.
“The most rewarding part of my work is knowing the children I help won't have to go through years of pain due to anxiety and depression,” Docton said. “Those who may otherwise succumb to mental health issues, drop out of school, and spend much of their life alone and possibly on disability are instead healthy, happy, and productive. To see the awful things people do to children is taxing, but to help restore their innocence is beyond words.”