New information has surfaced indicating that the free-to-play, interactive browser-novel, Depression Quest may not be quite as upfront as we all thought, as new information paints the online browser title in a surreptitious light.
No sense wasting words on this one… let’s just get right into it.
Depression Quest is an interactive story novel that is available online for free. There is a donation option available, and the website states that a portion of the donations are directed to charities.
However, screenshots have emerged of conversations taking place with two separate charity organizations that were supposed to receive donation funds from the Depression Quest website, indicating that the funds may not be going to the organizations from the Depression Quest website.
The two charities are iFred (or International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression) and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
As showcased in the images below, both institutions are supposedly charities that the Depression Quest game support.
[Update: The Depression Quest website has been modified following the publication of this article to remove any mention of iFred. The images above highlighting iFred come from a screen-capture of the DepressionQuest.com website taken at 5:27pm EST, September 11th, 2014]
Moreover, when contacting those in charge of each organization, it was stated that they had no knowledge of being associated with the Depression Quest website.
According to John Draper, Ph.D., the president of Link2Health Solutions and the project director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, he responded to someone asking about whether or not Depression Quest was contributing funds to the NSPL, and Dr. Draper responded, saying…
“We have no relationship with this organization.”
You can see the e-mail exchange below.
Keep in mind that there could be more to this conversation. I reached out to Dr. Draper for further clarification, as well as another member of the organization; but at the time of the writing of this article, I haven’t received a response.
Additionally, Depression Quest lists iFred as another charity organization that funds are donated to.
According to a post from a representative on Facebook…
“We have not received any donations from depressionquest, not [sic] have we negotiated anything with them. They may be intending to do so but we have not been informed of anything.”
I reached out to iFred as well as an affiliate called FundaMental – in case the funds may have been redirected to the affiliate instead of iFred. At the time of the writing of this article, neither have responded.
So what do we take away from this? It appears as if Depression Quest may not be delivering funds to the charities on the page. However, we can’t know for sure given that the contributions could be sent through a different name or organization label (which could be a possibility we can’t rule out for now).
According to Breitbart writer, Milo Yiannopoulos, he claims that while attempting to contact those in charge of Depression Quest, regarding the charity discrepancy, they hung up on him.
The Depression Quest website has been up since February, 2013, according to the web archive. This means that there’s been well over a year’s worth of time to donate.
I’ll update the article if I receive a response from those contacted.
Big thanks to -Foxtrot for helping with curating some of the information and Evil Avatar.
[Update: Over on Tumblr, the owner of the Depression Quest website posted the following message:
“For the time that Depression Quest was released on Feb 14th, 2013 until August 11th of this year, our website was stating that a portion of the proceeds of the pay-what-you-want version would go to iFred. We have donated at least $698 to iFred, though I know a number of folks have been donating on our behalf which is super cool, especially since a free game doesn’t really make a ton of money. I’ve spoken with them to clear up confusion with routes of donation, and they are happy to confirm that this has been the case. I did mess up and not let them know about this ahead of time though – whoops! Lesson learned: if you’re gonna do a thing to support a charity, it’s polite to send them a letter first.
“On August 11th to coincide with the Steam release, we switched charities to go to the National Suicide Lifeline to spread the love around (and partially because I had gone through some dark times and they’ve helped me out before. Oh no! Bias!).
“I’ve been mixing the contributions with some of my own cash from my Patreon and been able to give a total of $971 dollars to date, totaling half of the gross sales of that version so far”
If contact can be made with the individuals at the National Suicide Lifelife and iFred, I’ll be asking whether or not the listed funds have been made to their charity. ]
[Update #2: An iFred represented posted the following message on Facebook…
“We are looking in to this more as well. We were not aware of any, but were contacted early this evening and told that the donations were made under another name, as Depression Quest is not an actual company. We are looking into this and will let you know when we have additional information.”
[Update #3: After reaching out to #FundaMentalSDG, a supporter of iFred, here is what the coordinator had to say…
“I am afraid I am only coordinator of #FundaMentalSDG, iFred being a supporter, but we do not have any insights in the site you mention.”]
To all those asking about the Depression Quest game. To clarify, as of yesterday we were not aware of any donations made on behalf of the game. However, it was brought to our attention that donations were made by an individual, and we can confirm these donations were made as stated here: https://ohdeargodbees.tumblr.com/post/97275528664/depression-quest-donationsAdditionally, we were aware that there was a link to our organization as it has sent many people needing help to our website for education and resources. We weren’t aware of any direct relationship to donations, though we welcome and are thankful for support given to our organization through this effort. We do not endorse the game but we do see it has done a lot to raise awareness for depression and hope to use some of the gaming skills to create tools we think teach kids about the importance of hope and health brains.To those that have made donations in the past day because you thought Depression Quest did not donate, we are happy to refund those donations and we plan to follow-up directly on paypal with that note as well. We would appreciate if you can share this information with your networks so we can get back to our work with the limited resources we do have at hand – teaching and sharing hope, and ending stigma. If you haven’t done so, please do check out our new www.schoolsforhope.org program and get involved in your local community.
Thanks much for all that have been reaching out to ensure transparency and accountability. We appreciate the support of our mission and wish you all health and healing. Thanks for helping to #shinelight #endstigma #sharehope. Let’s all get back to making a positive impact on the world! ]