Indiana University men’s lacrosse team is again partnering with U Bring Change 2 Mind, an IU student organization aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, to sponsor the Second Annual “Stick It to Stigma” lacrosse games.
This year’s event will include three games at IU’s Rec Sports Complex on March 24, 25 and 26.
The first of these games will be streamed via Facebook Live on Bring Change 2 Mind’s Facebook page starting at 7 p.m. March 24.
As part of the games, IU’s men’s lacrosse team will wear lime green chinstraps and warm ups with the U Bring Change 2 Mind logo during their games against Tennessee, Davenport and Western Michigan. The official color of mental health, lime green signifies the team’s ongoing commitment to raising awareness and ending stigma.
Additionally, members of the team will take part in a social media campaign, #MindYourMind, to advocate for the importance of speaking out, seeking help and serving as an ally to others through listening and showing support.
The games, which expanded from one game last year to three this year, are the brainchild of David Haggerty, who served last year as co-director of U Bring Change 2 Mind and as captain of IU’s men’s lacrosse team.
“It’s impressive to see the continued dedication from the team and our coaches to raise awareness for mental illness,” said Haggerty, a current graduate student at the IU School of Medicine who has struggled with anxiety and depression. “When I started this event, I was nervous that my teammates and coaches would look at me differently because mental illness is often associated with weakness or being unathletic. But the acceptance and diligence everyone has shown toward normalizing mental health and illness has been remarkable.
“Over the last year, I’ve had teammates, staff from the university and complete strangers tell me that the work we’re doing changed their perspective and means a lot to them. It’s fantastic to see this event evolve to continue to break down barriers and challenge stereotypes around men and athletes’ relationship toward mental health.”
Mental illness can affect one in four college students, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. By partnering with IU’s men’s lacrosse team, U Bring Change 2 Mind hopes to not only bring more awareness to mental illness but to address a demographic — male athletes — that might have difficulty speaking about the issue.
“We are excited that an athletic team on campus is supporting such an important cause that affects so many people,” said Maggie Benson, event co-director for U Bring Change 2 Mind. “We hope that this event helps bring further awareness to our fellow peers. We believe the more mental health is discussed, the more we can begin to reduce the stigma placed on these very real and debilitating disorders.”
For more information about U Bring Change to Mind, including on-campus and community resources, visit the U Bring Change 2 Mind College Toolbox Project.