The Atlanta Hawks and nonprofit wellness group Silence the Shame begin their multi-initiative campaign with a “Teen Mental Wellness Courtside Chat.”
Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young and five-Grammy nominee Chloe Bailey, also known simply as Chlöe, participated in a “Teen Mental Wellness Courtside Chat” to discuss their own personal experiences on the path to discovering their inner peace.
The conversation, moderated by Silence the Shame Founder Shanti Das, took shape around the topics that the organization’s main focuses: educating and raising awareness for teenagers to eliminate mental health stigmas and reduce health disparities across communities. The goal is to improve suicide rates among vulnerable populations.
Speaking candidly, the trio addressed the uncertainty many have felt through the COVID-19 pandemic, including their own coping mechanisms.
Bailey, one half of the prolific musical duo Chlöe x Halle alongside her sister, shared that her mental health challenges are “ongoing” because “we never really conquer [mental health] fully.”
“It ebbs and flows,” continued the Atlanta native. “Maybe one day we’re doing better than others. For me, I’m realizing it’s OK to take time off. I’m realizing the reason why I throw myself into work so much is because that’s when my mind is distracted the most. Right now, I’m trying to learn how to appreciate the off days.”
Young shed light on the reason behind his daily “Another Day, Another Opportunity” tweet (complete with the “100” emoji):
“I use that and I post it every day not only as a reminder to myself, but a reminder to everybody [that] any day you wake up is another opportunity to be better at something. Whether it’s being a better big brother or being a better teammate, I’m always just trying to be better at something the next day. I always wake up with that mindset, and I just try to spread that positivity and hope people have that same mindset every day that we can be better each and every day at something.”
As part of this initiative, the Hawks and Silence the Shame will collaborate with Clayton County Public Schools, Skyland Trail, and other community organizations to help normalize mental wellness conversations.
“We are proud to team up with Silence the Shame for a series of activities that continue conversations surrounding mental health,” said Hawks’ Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Andrea Carter. “Through our collaborative efforts, we hope young people will help themselves, support others and make healthy decisions.”
The campaign will continue on Sunday, March 20, when the Hawks take on the New Orleans Pelicans in a home matchup. A special Silence the Shame spotlight will run at State Farm Arena during the game. The Hawks organization is additionally offering a special package that includes admission to a pre-game event, a limited-edition Hawks and Silence the Shame co-branded shirt, and of course, a ticket to see Young and Co. in action.
For each ticket package that’s purchased, a donation will be made to Silence the Shame.
Prior to the start of this game, the Hawks are hosting a community panel titled“Sports, Entertainment and Mental Wellness” — moderated again by Das. The discussion will emphasize the importance of prioritizing mental health, tips for improving connections, and tools for keeping depression at bay. Featured speakers include Carter, Dr. Vaughn Gay (Executive Director for Holistic Atlanta), Garrison Hearst (12-year NFL veteran), and Jumaine L. Jones (eight-year NBA veteran and founder of Beyond The Hardwood Academy).
The initiative will continue all the way to May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. The Hawks and Silence the Shame will host students from local school districts and nonprofit organizations for a series of wellness activities and conversations promoting healthy mental behaviors and positive youth development throughout the month.