From Oct. 5 to Oct. 9, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee held numerous events in order to promote Mental Health Awareness Week.

The activities consisted of sending encouraging messages to teammates and other teams, wearing green as a representation of hope with mental health and the painting of APSU’s spirit rock. The rock was colored green with the message “You Matter.” Multiple APSU athletic programs also promoted the hashtag “OVrComethestigma,” representing the Ohio Valley Conference’s wide-band support of its student-athletes.

In addition, the committee co-hosted a virtual town hall on racial relations and social injustice with the APSU Peayce Makers club. The zoom discussion was held with athletes across the campus and was promoted as a safe space for individuals to share their experiences.

“The OVC SAAC continues to promote Mental Health Awareness Week by taking part in on-campus events, supporting student-athlete concerns, and through social media engagement,” said Trevor Reeves, OVC Director of Compliance and Institutional Serves and OVC SAAC liasion. “While this week is specifically dedicated to Mental Health Awareness, the OVC SAAC commits to this initiative as an area of importance year round.”

Two members of the committee’s executive board commented on the significance of the events during Thursday’s event.

“Student-athletes, we go through practices, games and then school work on top of that, and sometimes it can be overwhelming,” President Myah LeFlore told Kelsey Story of The All State. “The demand of coaches and practices [and] the intensity of the practices can get overwhelming. Sometimes we’re always taught to get over it, play over it, play hard like putting it past you, but bringing awareness to it and allowing students-athletes to know that it’s a real problem and that they should take it seriously.”

“I think we try to put on that everything’s okay and how we’re trying to act tough,” co-treasurer Stone Norris added. “Because when you think of a stereotypical athlete, you think somebody’s tough and that they are not going to share their emotions, but I think that’s the exact opposite…We should share our emotions more with everybody. I think having mental health and bringing it up, and saying it’s okay to talk about it is a really big thing that we all need to do.”