With the school year and campus athletics starting to get underway, it’s important that we have conversations that are important to talk about. An Epidemic that is not only facing the lives of students but the entire world.
The month of September is Mental Health Awareness month, which helps people understand the rising epidemic that is facing the lives of many. Among them is a rising number of individuals who are not only students but also people who participate in athletics.
Many often assume that athletes are these larger-than-life figures who have an alpha dog mentality, but the truth is that they are still humans when the jersey comes off. This is especially the case with student-athletes at Minnesota State University Mankato.
Sydney Nelson, a junior at MSU plays second base for the Maverick Softball team on campus. However, when she is not busy on the field or in the classroom, she is heavily involved with the Athletics Department.
Nelson serves as the president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council for the program. A council that is meant to help not only athletes but coaches and staff members with issues. Nelson has been an advocate for mental health and the effects it is having on the community around her
“I feel very passionate about Mental Health and feel it is a rising epidemic. Especially in the community that I am involved with, many people I know have struggled with anxiety, and depression, and even have taken their own life. It’s why I feel very strongly about this and advocate for it”,” Nelson said.”
One of the main goals of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council has been finding ways to bring awareness to mental health issues. Working with the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) to promote the Green Bandana Project is one of the ways to spread mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
Members who join the campaign are given a green bandana to tie to a bag to signify the movement and pledge to support mental health and suicide prevention.
Last year, members of the athletic program distributed over 100 green bandanas and bag tags to the Mav Machine. Each one of the tags contains information about mental health centers on campus and in the area to help students.
However, the council still has bigger plans going forward and continues to work with the campaign.
“Our goal is to continue to spread to other recognized clubs and organizations on campus. It is important that students know that they have the resources to help them. All we want is to pay it forward and get others involved,” said Nelson.
Write to Charlie Groebner at Charles.Groebner@mnsu.edu