CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - The Pokemon craze has subsided a little, but that didn't stop fans in Conway from using the game to raise awareness and funds for mental health organizations.They said the game helps those suffering with mental illnesses like depression.
“How cool would it be to turn this video game into something bigger," said Pokemon Go player, Eli Lovan.
Lovan explained he suffered from depression. He gives Pokemon Go credit to helping him recover.
“The hardest thing for me is I wouldn’t want to leave I’d go home and sit in my room," said Lovan. “If you have something that encourages you to go outside and see the world around you, that’s all it takes."
Now, Pokemon Go is his inspiration to reach others who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses.
"We want to target this towards college students," said Lovan.
At Laurel Park in Conway, Lovan organized a Pokemon Go Cookout for mental health. They took in donations and held a silent auction raising money for three mental health charities; Youth Move, Bridgeway, and Project Wake Up.
“As long as we get awareness out and people realize they can get help that’s all that really matters to me," said Lovan.
They're still accepting donations for the charities through Go Fund Me. The group hopes to team up with Arkansas Suicide Prevention Network in the future for more events.