The Power of team. You are not alone. Family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, and teammates stand by to provide comfort in your mental health struggles.
The daily grind is real for everyone – whether it is the pressure of school, work, personal relationships, parenting, etc. Whatever it may be, there are stressors everywhere and dealing with those in solitude is way harder than expressing your frustrations with a trusted source close to you. Too often people assume that other people “wouldn’t understand” or “don’t want to be bothered” and therefore struggle through another day/week/month battling on their own. The truth, however, is that MOST people are affected by mental health issues either personally or through someone close to them. Sometimes simply starting a conversation can create dialog with someone who has been through similar struggles and may be able to offer helpful strategies that they used to get through their day in a more positive way. Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach at Quincy College, Kenny Nguyen discusses the pressures his players face every day. "There is always going to be pressure at any college level and life. Mental health is a quiet crisis and we all go through stuff. Let’s be there for one another."
If you have siblings, neighbors, or are part of a team, take advantage of those resources close to you. Bringing up an experience with a teammate that helped you, may benefit someone else. Having the courage to communicate is key and trusting friends, family, or teammates should help facilitate these early conversations.
The beauty of a team is that by its very nature you have a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal. Max Crozier, Providence College hockey captain states, “NOSOLO reminds us that we are only a team when each of us feel we can be our true, authentic self around each other. Being there for one another through all the ups and downs will allow us to succeed as a team.” Success is often achieved through the collective efforts of teammates versus the reliance on one talented-yet-selfish player. Goals are met through the counsel of a teacher or coach who puts the pieces together in order to maximize a team’s potential to capture success – and the best teams are those that can adapt on the fly. If someone is having an off day, there is a teammate there to pick them up and keep the team moving forward. Having this type of support – a common understanding that you can rely on the help of others - is so powerful. Head Rogers High School basketball coach, Mike Newsome, explains that it goes beyond just the basketball court. “As a coach, it’s my job to teach my players whether in LIFE or with our TEAM, you are never alone. You will always have me or someone else.”
At NOSOLO we have been blessed to work with a number of teams who preach the power of the collective. From Providence College to Rogers High School, Salve Regina University, Quincy College, Middletown High School, Merrimack College and new teams jumping on by the day, coaches and players alike have embraced the mantra of NOSOLO: You are not alone. Salve Men’s Hockey player, Cayden Kraus states, “Mental health is something many people struggle with, but it isn't talked about enough, especially amongst student-athletes. if we work together and bring more light to it, we can change that narrative.” Even in ‘individual’ sports like swimming, golf or tennis, these players all have teams behind them: coaches, trainers, managers, etc. By wearing the NOSOLO mark on their warmup uniforms or team hats, these players have pledged their commitment to each other and the betterment of the group as a whole.
In the world of athletics – at every level – it has been slower to accept mental health as a real issue. Choosing to avoid addressing mental health as seriously as we do physical health, has to end now. There are coaches like Jen Sargent – Merrimack Women’s Lacrosse – who are staunch advocates for discussing mental health issues in athletics:
"In order for student-athletes to perform well, they must prioritize their mental health just as much as their physical health. The pressures and obstacles our players face on the field and in the classroom every single day are real. NOSOLO gives our girls another "teammate" for their mental health support. As a coach, I've realized we need to prioritize mental health support just as much as we talk X's and O's. NOSOLO is that constant reminder for my players to know that they are truly not alone."
Embrace the power of team, the power of your extended family. Have the courage to approach a teammate or a coach to discuss your struggles. Communication can be the spark that leads to additional help that can set you free.
You are not alone: NOSOLO.