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Howard University Athletes Fight to End Mental Health Stigmas in Sports

Photo courtesy of @morgansmessage.howarduni via Instagram. 

Student-athletes on Howard University’s campus are spreading awareness of the mental health issues that plague the sports community. Morgan’s Message is an organization dedicated to eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community. Taylor Matthews, a sophomore honors sports management major from Tampa Bay, Florida, founded Howard’s chapter of the mental health organization. Matthews is a member of the Bison lacrosse team.

When asked about her inspiration for founding the Howard chapter of Morgan’s Message, Matthews said, “My own personal mental health struggles were my main inspiration. I knew I was struggling but didn’t know what was wrong or how and where to get help. I also was partially ashamed of reaching out for help because athletes are supposed to be these ‘superhumans.’ I knew I couldn’t be the only one struggling, so I wanted to create an organization that would help other student-athletes and students in general.”

Howard University is one of the few historically Black colleges to have a chapter in the Morgan’s Message organization. Black student-athletes struggling with mental health issues lack the resources to express themselves in ways that they are understood rather than ignored. Matthews expressed how the organization’s efforts could specifically help Black student-athletes on an HBCU campus.

“I want to create a safe space for Black student-athletes to vent and express themselves,” Matthew said. “I feel mental health is even more stigmatized in the Black community, and we don’t ever talk about it.”

The Howard University chapter plans on working with sports psychologists to provide resources that our student-athletes may not know about, such as booking appointments with mental health specialists on campus or getting referrals to get tested for mental illnesses. One of the chapter’s goals is to begin working with middle school and high school athletes, impacting the students’ lives by teaching them how to confront their problems.

In the event that any athletes feel they are suffering from mental illness, they can reach out to the organization on Instagram @morgansmessage.howarduni, or call 9-8-8 for the Suicide and Crisis Hotline.

Copy edited by Chanice McClover-Lee

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