Raiding 101: Supporting Guildies in Crisis

In this Raiding 101 series, we discuss tips and tricks for various aspects of running a guild, which can range from guild leadership duties, to raid leading, to growing as a player. Today, we’ll explore something a little different from our usual fare: the ways in which you can develop yourself and your community space as a supportive place for guildies who are struggling with their mental health or facing another serious real-life issue.

The period of time between October and January tends to be a difficult one for many people; family-centered holidays can feel very isolating for those who aren’t close with their families or are grieving losses – especially in this post-Covid world, while the shorter days and lengthy nights can spur on seasonal depression and intensify feelings of sadness and isolation. For many of us, our Warcraft guilds serve as our families too, so ensuring your community can serve as a safety net for struggling guildies may be a truly meaningful gesture for someone who needs a little extra comfort and support.

Please note that this article has a mild content warning for brief discussions of domestic violence and mental health struggles.

Table of Contents

Being Available

Probably one of the most meaningful steps you can take to ensure your guildies feel supported during difficult personal times is to be accessible and approachable. This may mean that you personally are the one who takes on the official “comfy officer” role, but this could also be another officer. As I discussed in the second article in my miniseries on Conflict Management, each guildie often has their own favorite or “comfort blanket” officer, which is also wonderful (and a testament to your ability to pick officers!), as it can help distribute support tasks and thus lessen the emotional toll on yourself and your individual officers. Whether your guildie is struggling with their mental health, addiction, domestic violence, grief, financial instability, questioning gender or sexual orientation, or some other source of personal hardship, offering them a friendly shoulder to lean on is an enormous kindness.

It’s extremely important that you are an engaged and interested listener when someone brings a personal problem to your attention. Be an active listener in these moments in order to help the person feel comfortable and safe speaking with you.


What does a crisis look like? Mental health crises can obviously be very different from person to person, but the National Alliance of Mental Illness indicates that some signs of a serious issue may include:

  • Extreme withdrawal
  • Not sleeping or eating for days on end
  • Drastic change in mood and energy, or mood swings
  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • Acting in violent ways
  • Giving away prized possessions or writing goodbye notes
  • Increasing misuse of substances
  • Extreme agitation or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities
  • Difficulty perceiving reality
  • Attempts or threats of harm to self or others

Those battling addiction may exhibit an increased difficulty to show up and function without their substance of choice, while guildies who are in the midst of a domestic violence situation may become far more reserved and timid, or even suddenly withdraw from the community altogether. You may notice a guildie needing to withdraw from raiding or playing altogether due to financial restrictions, a tenuous situation with their family, or other concerns about becoming unhoused.

However, your guildie may not be exhibiting, or may not yet be exhibiting any of these signs. If their behavior, attendance, or attention has suddenly changed or they are particularly touchy, irritable or reactive, it does no harm to gently check in. You know your community members best, so keep an eye out for any sudden changes in behavior or offhand comments that strike you as concerning.


If you notice a guildie seems to be struggling, you may also want to reach out to them first. Often, people feel anxious about approaching anyone else in the midst of a crisis, for a number of reasons:

  • They don’t want to “burden” someone else
  • They don’t want their friends to worry
  • They feel embarrassed by a supposed weakness
  • They aren’t sure who is trustworthy
  • They don’t know what to say
  • They don’t feel anyone cares about them enough to listen

It’s important to remember that people of all genders are heavily discouraged from sharing their emotions online (and especially in-game) for different reasons. Men are shamed and regarded as weak for expressing any kind of emotion (besides anger), while women are typically considered “dramatic” if they express feeling anything other than happy. Keep this in mind when you speak with a guildie with concerns about their mental health, and ensure you’re being compassionate and non-judgmental in your approach.

If your team member indicates that they’d prefer their struggle remained confidential, it’s also important to honor that wish unless they are seriously in danger of harming themselves or someone else. You may want to ask if you can loop the rest of the leadership team in if the issue is severe or requires some additional support, but respect your guildie’s wishes and don’t force anything they’re uncomfortable with. Guildies who are struggling with their gender or sexual orientation, in particular, may not wish to be outed, and it’s imperative that you respect this wish wholeheartedly.


Whether you’ve positioned yourself as the comfy officer or you have another member of your leadership team in that role, be sure that your community members understand your guild’s open-door policy, as explained in our Raiding 101 article, Conflict Management Part 2. Guildies should feel comfortable coming to you or your fellow officers with questions and concerns, whether these are about the guild or are of a more personal nature. Position yourself as a trustworthy leadership team by taking community member concerns seriously at all times, and providing responses that are kind and judgment-free. If you have worked to build trust with your community, they will be much more willing to approach you when they are facing a substantial struggle.

Providing Resources

Another important aspect of valuing the mental health and well-being of your guildies is offering them support via resources they may choose to engage with in their own time. You may want to consider offering additional resources, or reminding your team of the resources they have available to them, as the holiday season rolls around.


Many larger communities have started to maintain a handbook or list of resources for their members, which is an excellent idea and a kind way to demonstrate your guild has a vested interest in the mental health of its members.

Most guilds these days have members from different counties, states/provinces, and even countries, so providing an exhaustive list of support resources may be functionally impossible. Try to focus on the states and/or countries you know you have members in, and offer up regional help pages or collections of resources where applicable, like for your EU or Canadian members. You may also want to consult with your community members when developing your resources, in order to determine which organizations are most well-known in their area.

Here I’ve provided some links to help you begin your own resources list. Please recognize that this list is not at all exhaustive, but may be a good starting point!

United States:


EU & International:


If your struggling guildie needs individualized or more specific care, it can be helpful to sit with them and help them find the resources they need. This allows you to operate your search on a much more detailed level to discover the best possible resources for the person’s specific location and particular difficulties. They may not feel comfortable with this option, but I’ve found this to be an immensely comforting gesture to offer to someone who has a lot on their plate; even if they ultimately decline your help, knowing that you would happily sit with them and find the resources they need can help them feel truly valued and supported.

For those of you in the United States, Psychology Today is an especially helpful resource for everything from bite-sized articles about particular mental health struggles, to their excellent Find a Therapist tool.

Offering Distractions

Sometimes, nothing works better to help someone feel loved and supported than offering them a distraction and inviting them to participate in something with you. This is especially true during the holiday season, when every single ad we’re exposed to is pushing the idea of family, closeness, and merrymaking. If you are able to host or delegate some casual get-togethers for the community, you may find them to be quite popular, especially during the particularly lonely month of December.

While you can go all out and plan a big group game night (check out my article on Team Morale for suggestions, or consider the new popular, hilarious co-op game, Lethal Company), this is absolutely not necessary! Combating loneliness can be as easy as choosing a comfort show to watch together while you run a goofy LFR or do some baby Mythic+ keys, or planning a few very low-key movie nights with popular comfort picks. Some of my best and most relaxing moments have been spent doing my own thing, playing a solo game, while I watch a favorite show with my guild friends, which is how I’ve spent my time through this difficult December.

No matter the distraction you choose, what really matters is offering a caring voice on the other end of the line for people who are lonely and struggling. Even if they’re not feeling especially sociable, even just extending the offer can mean so much, so don’t be afraid to reach out individually, or even leave a message in a general Discord channel or in guild chat to extend an invite to the community at large.

A Note on Self-Care

Being the go-to for your beloved guildies is undeniably fulfilling, but it can also be exhausting and sap your energy or throw a lot of weight on your shoulders. If you find your own mental health is suffering as a result of a guildie’s ongoing situation, ensure that you are doing your best to give yourself time to relax and refresh. You are no use to anyone if you are too exhausted and “cared-out” to provide more friendship and support to those who are looking to you for help. Delegate if needed, help a struggling guildie find a mental health professional to talk to if necessary, and be sure you are in tune with your own mental health enough to identify when it’s time for a break. Don’t forget, you matter too!

Key Takeaways

One of the most emotionally difficult seasons is currently upon us, but mental health is important year-round. If you’re invested in building a truly close-knit community, you may want to consider establishing a mental health resources list for your guild members, and remind them to make use of it especially in December when the loneliness hits especially hard. Continue to cultivate your community’s trust in your leadership team by offering open-door, judgment-free opportunities for members to reach out to you for help and support about anything, including personal struggles. If you notice an individual’s behavior has changed drastically, be sure you’re reaching out to them in a kind and compassionate way to offer support and help them find the resources they may need to face whatever plagues them. Most importantly, encourage community bonds and offer comfort and company to your members by providing distractions, especially during the holidays. These distractions may be movie nights, game nights, or even just a quiet opportunity to hang out and chat while you stream a favorite show. Your community is nothing without its members, so prioritize their well-being by prioritizing their mental health!

Reader, if you yourself are feeling particularly low this holiday season, I hope you know how valued and loved you are. No matter how you performed in raid, or in that Mythic+ key, no matter how unproductive you may feel, no matter how lonely you are…you are worth it, and you matter.

If you feel you urgently need someone to talk to, please contact one of the following 24/7 hotlines in your area:

If you have additional resources you feel it would be pertinent to add to this article, please feel free to reach out to me directly via Twitter DM or via Discord at gogogadgetkat.


About the Author

Gogogadgetkat has been playing WoW since late BC, and has been the GM of her guild Propaganda since its creation in 2014. As a career healer, Kat has a number of CEs and old-school heroic kills under her belt, all on a variety of healing classes and specs—she’s a serial altoholic! In addition to Mythic raiding and a little Mythic+, creating safe, inclusive spaces in gaming is her longtime passion; Kat has been an admin for the Perky Pugs community since late BfA, and is also a founding council member and the community manager for the DEIBAJ initiative Liquid Women in Warcraft. She is excited to bring her wealth of experience and love of writing to the Raider.IO team.