Nearly one in five adults in the U.S. live with a mental health condition, yet conversations surrounding mental health are often still shrouded in stigma. Given that we're in the middle of a pandemic wherein people are experiencing heightened feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, and xenophobia, according to a 2020 study, it's important to check in with ourselves and others about where we're at mentally, and when needed, to ask for help.
To help make this process a bit easier, Nike and Crisis Text Line have partnered together to provide free, 24/7 mental health support via text messaging for people based in the U.S. Simply texting the word "strong" to 741741 will pair people with trained, volunteer crisis counselors. "We are thrilled to partner with Nike to advance the conversation on mental health and expand the support that is available for people at any time, any day. Not just when people are in crisis, but just as a natural part of their day-to-day lives when they need support," says Shairi Turner, MD, MPH, the Crisis Text Line chief transformation officer.
Strength is often quantified from a physical perspective—how heavy you can lift, how fast you can run—but Nike and Nike-sponsored athletes are coming together to show people that strength also exists within. "I know what it's like to feel alone and feel like there's nobody that could possibly feel this way...It's the contrary, there are so many people that battle their own issues and fight their own fight. The best thing I ever did was reach out for help because that gets the ball rolling," says Hayden Hurst, a professional football player with the Atlanta Falcons.
“It's really beyond providing support to those in need, we are joining Nike to spread the message that asking for help is powerful. It's a very powerful expression of strength," adds Dr. Turner. Your mental health is equally as important as your physical health, and it's imperative we begin to center these conversations and stories, to show others that we're all going through something, that it's normal to experience highs and lows, and that it's absolutely okay to seek help.
"As much time as you devote to the physical qualities of being a champion, of being an athlete," says Paralympian Scout Bassett, "You've got to devote just as much time to your mental health, to your mental fortitude, your strength, and the qualities that aren't physical."
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