BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University men’s lacrosse team is excited to announce a special partnership with "U Bring Change 2 Mind" (UBC2M), an IU student organization, to sponsor the first Annual Stick it to Stigma lacrosse game supporting mental health awareness.
UBC2M is the national research pilot program for Bring Change 2 Mind’s College Toolbox Project to develop a methodology for tracking how student attitudes around mental illness and stigma change over time. The game, which will be held on Saturday, April 9, will be streamed nationally on Bring Change 2 Mind’s website at 3 p.m. EDT.
To raise awareness, especially among males and athletes, the IU lacrosse team will be wearing the official color of mental health, lime green, against the University of Illinois when they meet in Bloomington. The uniforms will also display #MindOurFuture in support of Bring Change 2 Mind’s new public service announcement.
This campaign engages Millennials and GenZs in a movement to end fear, shame and misunderstanding by submitting our own mental health stories and encouraging our peers to do the same. This dialogue is changing the narrative of mental illness from one of stigma to one of hope. Members of the IU men’s lacrosse team will be taking part in the PSA, and hope to inspire others to participate through a variety of mediums, including video, written word, song and art. Together, let’s use this platform to be forever remembered for ending the stigma of mental illness once and for all.
Senior captain and midfielder David Haggerty, who also serves as the undergraduate UBC2M Director of Research, created this event after identifying the opportunity to blend lacrosse and mental health.
“The lacrosse community is a close-knit group that already supports great causes such as Coaches vs. Cancer and the Headstrong Foundation. But, as far as I know, there has not been a lacrosse game played for mental health awareness," Haggerty said. "In fact, I don’t think that any sport has attempted to support mental health awareness. Mental toughness is an essential part of any sport, and I think that athletes are often hesitant to speak up about concerns regarding our mental state, or that of a teammate, because we do not want to be perceived as weak.
"Statistically, this is something that touches each of us either personally or as a friend or family member. And, once the conversation is started, you realize just how widespread it is. I thought that my coaches and teammates would have hated this idea because of the stigma, but they welcomed it with enthusiasm. It's time everyone starts thinking and acting this way. Talking about mental health is not a sign of weakness.”
Bring Change 2 Mind is a national non-profit working to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Because science and evidence-based action are essential to achieving this mission, BC2M’s work is grounded in the latest research, evaluated for effectiveness, and shared with confidence. The organization was co-founded in 2010 by the award-winning actress Glenn Close and her family after they experienced the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
Ms. Close’s sister, Jessie, lives with bipolar disorder and her nephew, Calen Pick, lives with a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder. UBC2M is one of BC2M’s three main programs, and is the first effort of its kind to develop a systematic program aimed at reducing the stigma of mental illness on a campus setting.