Burn Out Brighter - Because Mental Health Matters

By Destinee Cleveland, Host at Burn Out Brighter on 06/08/2021

Burn Out Brighter is a podcast that focuses on gaming, mental health, social justice issues, and everything in between. The team behind the podcast started it while they were all working and living in South Korea. Matt had always wanted to create a space where he could talk about things that were really important to him, gaming and mental health. Darren, a close childhood friend, was someone Matt would spend hours playing games with. It was a no-brainer to ask him to join the project. He still felt that something was missing but couldn’t quite figure out what it was. Now, let’s fast forward to when Matt met Destinee. They became acquainted working for the same company and went from being co-workers to really good friends. Matt realized that she would be a perfect fit for the podcast. While Matt, Darren, and Destinee are the face of the podcast; behind the scenes they have Sena, Matt’s wife, who helps by editing videos and supporting the team in different ways. It has been an incredible experience for them, working together and using their platform to highlight subjects that they find important.

Mental health was always a topic that the podcast was going to focus on. There was a need to have a conversation about how games could help people through tough times in their lives whether it be dealing with anxiety, depression, or simply needing to escape a negative situation. Society has seen its share of ups and downs which has taken a toll on people. The podcast not only wants to talk about it, but let people know they aren’t alone when it comes to dealing with their mental health. It’s important to make sure people aren’t feeling isolated; that’s why it’s one of the main subjects they try to talk about.  


"Mental health has been something I’ve struggled with for a long time. Video games, and the way you can lose yourself in another world, were always something that gave me a space to work through things I was feeling. We hear about the negative aspects of gaming way too often, and I love using our show in a way to promote the positive aspects they can have on our mental health. I was terrified when I first thought of starting this, but Sena was always pushing me to help tell these stories. She helped push me in ways I could have never imagined. Now, because of her drive, and because of Destinee and Darren’s willingness to be open and tell their stories, we’re creating a space to talk about games and how much they impact us, and all our guests’, in an effort to show just how much games matter."

Matt, Host of Burn Out Brighter


While diversity is important to the entire team, Destinee is the driving force behind conversations that delve deep into the lack of representation and social injustice. She felt that growing up she didn’t see enough people who looked like her in the media, and would cling to any characters she felt she could connect with in movies, games, and television.  This is why she strives to bring on people from different backgrounds to tell their story. The team has continued to use their platform to highlight these topics.


You know when Matt came to me with the idea he described what he wanted the show to be about. I loved the idea because I enjoy games and I think mental health is an important topic that needs to be talked about more. As a black female I felt it was important to cover topics that focus on social justice, diversity, and proper representation in the industry. I wanted to have discussions about minority groups while creating a safe and supportive space for our guests to talk about their experience. Taking the time to have these conversations and highlight that people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and anyone else who feels they are underrepresented have a right to voice their opinions and be seen and heard in the media and gaming industry. Whether they’re a consumer or create content, they all have a part to play in the industry. Matt and Darren have been amazingly supportive every step of the way and we all strongly believe in equality for everyone. I’m so happy that we’re doing our part to make positive changes."

Destinee, Host of Burn Out Brighter


The Burn Out Brighter team all have different tastes when it comes to their gaming preferences and that creates an incredible opportunity to talk about games from different perspectives. They try to cover as many genres as possible and focus on how games are affecting society as a whole, whether it’s a story of loss, a game that tries to make learning fun, or a game that brings family and friends together. Playing games has always been an important and integral part of their lives. Burn Out Brighter allows them to share what they love with others and that’s pretty cool.  


Video games have had such an immense impact on my life. So many memories in life have a specific game associated with those moments. The interactivity of video games has the potential to reach out to so many people, giving them experiences they couldn’t possibly have otherwise. Video games let me explore the lives of so many people, so many places. It’s no wonder that they mean so much to us that we had to make a podcast! Talking about them for hours barely scratches the surface! We couldn’t think of a better way to spend our time. Letting our minds wander and dream.

Darren, Host of Burn Out Brighter


The team at BOB has huge hopes for the future. They’re excited to take on new challenges that help them grow not only as a platform, but also as individuals. So far, they’ve had awesome opportunities to review games, cover events as media, and talk to many developers about the games they’re building.

The team have reached their 100th episode of the podcast! They want to invite everyone to come celebrate with them and check out the episode with surprise guests and a special giveaway.

Check out all the relevant links for Burn Out Brighter here, including their Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep up to date with activities and news from Burn Out Brighter.