West Babylon, N.Y. - For the second year in a row, the East Coast Conference and the conference’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) have declared that the week of April 1-7 will be a Mental Health Awareness Week throughout the league. This idea was developed by the ECC SAAC last year following discussions at the NCAA SAAC Super-Regional Convention in Washington, D.C as a means to bring attention to this important issue that impacts young people around the world including student-athletes.
All week long, ECC student-athletes will be seen wearing white t-shirts with lime green logos (lime green is the national color associated with mental health awareness) with the phrase "Stop the Stigma" and the hashtag, #itsokay. Both phrases allude to the fact that mental health concerns are nothing to be ashamed of and that it's okay to ask for help.
Some ECC members have also set up events throughout the week such as partnering with counseling centers to set up tables at games, bringing in guest speakers to speak to student-athletes, and campaigns at games such as having teams and spectators write out positive compliments about themselves.
"We saw last year that our athletic programs and student-athletes were very committed to bringing attention to the importance of mental health for all college students," said ECC Commissioner, Dr. Robert Dranoff. "All of us involved in college athletics – coaches and administrators, faculty and team members and their families – must help to create the kind of environment that will support the well-being of student-athletes and this includes mental health. We all must be ready to help those who are struggling and to work to remove the stigma that may prevent an individual from seeking assistance."
ECC member schools and teams will be promoting their activities all week on their respective social media accounts. Search the hashtag, #itsokay, to find posts about the ECC's Mental Health Awareness Week.