May 3, 2019
Beyond Sport is excited to announce a new cross-sector, cross-community initiative leveraging sport to address mental health and well-being.
Mental health is fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life. On this basis, the promotion, protection and restoration of mental health can be regarded as a vital concern of individuals, communities and societies throughout the world. -World Health Organization
In the United States, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, established 70 years ago to raise awareness about the importance of mental health and to stop the stigmas surrounding the issue. However, though public education, treatments and community support systems are expanding and more and more people are speaking openly about their experiences, there is still a long way to go. Globally, true prevalence of mental health disorders remains misunderstood, and in the US, 1 in 5 children have or will have a serious mental health condition, while 1 in 5 adults experience mental health issues annually (NAMI).
Without mental health sustainable development is not possible – a key reason why world leaders recognized it as a priority for the first time in 2015 and included it in the global development agenda (UN Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Health & Well Being, Target 3.4).
There is a real opportunity here for sport on this complex public health issue. Which is why we are convening sport, healthcare and social change leaders in the US to explore sport’s potential as a platform and a catalyst to promote mental wellness next month at our first-ever Stay in the Game Forum.
With its reach, influence and increasingly vocal athlete advocates, the sport sector can not only advance mental wellness within the industry, but can also leverage its platform to help transform the national conversation and inspire and support those who are struggling.
Held in New York alongside fellow Headline Partners the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention (Action Alliance) and Centerstone, Official Partners the Citrone 33 Foundation and USA Cycling and our Founding Supporters the MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and WNBA, Stay in the Game will examine existing approaches and identify ways for the sectors to work together.
“We value the leadership of the sports industry in helping to change the conversation about suicide and mental health across the country,” said Colleen Carr, Director of the Action Alliance. “This unique partnership gives us the opportunity to further elevate stories of hope, healing and recovery in promoting suicide prevention and mental wellness.”
Attendees will take part in an interactive program curated to provide inspiration and insider perspectives from sport teams, professional athletes, healthcare experts, social program leaders and suicide prevention experts. We will also launch the new ‘Stay in the Game Network’ to drive year-round learning and collective impact.
"We want our communities to be able to perform at peak levels, which involves both their mental and physical health," said Becky Stoll, Vice President of Crisis and Disaster Management at Centerstone. "I'm encouraged knowing that ‘Stay in the Game’ is taking a proactive approach by uniting the sport and health sectors around this critical issue. We have seen through our work with National Football League teams that it’s imperative to take the time to plan for adverse events and have sound processes in place to respond effectively."
Mental health studies show that with the right support and services, people can get better and thrive. Beyond Sport hopes that this will be the first step in a collaborative sports-based approach that results in mental health being recognized and resourced on the same level as other public health issues in the US -- and ultimately helps achieve Global Goals.
Stay in the Game builds on the award-winning ‘Not a Red Card’ campaign running through Beyond Sport’s sister agency, thinkBeyond, with Legal & General in the UK focusing on using sport to raise awareness about mental health in the workplace. It is also supported by the hundreds of organizations in our global network who are leveraging sport to promote mental health and well-being.
Please note that this event is by invitation only.
More About The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is the public-private partnership working to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention and make suicide prevention a national priority. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides funding to EDC to operate and manage the Secretariat for the Action Alliance, which launched in 2010. Learn more at theActionAlliance.org, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following the Action Alliance on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
More About Centerstone
Centerstone is a not-for-profit health care organization dedicated to delivering care that changes people’s lives. We provide mental health and substance abuse treatment, education and support to communities in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee and additionally offer individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities life skills development, employment and housing services. Nationally, we have specialized programs for service members, veterans and their loved ones, and develop employee assistance programs for businesses of all sizes. Our research institute improves behavioral healthcare through research and technology, and our foundation secures philanthropic resources to support our work. For more information, visit www.centerstone.org.