On January 17th, 2020, the New England College men’s and women’s ice hockey teams took a step towards mental health awareness. The women hosted Anna Maria College and the men hosted Castleton University. Each team came away with a victory, the women winning 4-0 and the men winning 4-2, but these games stood for something more than adding to their season record.
To support the cause, the NEC Athletics Department provided wristbands, and stickers were donated. Both items sported the color green (the mental health ribbon color), and both sent out a message that you don’t have to suffer alone. The wristbands and stickers stated, “it’s okay to not be okay,” as well as, “#shatterthestigma,” with the bracelets also having the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number on the inside. The stickers were added to the helmets of both the men’s and women’s teams, while fans were able to buy them as they entered the rink.
The teams decided to do something special with the wristbands. Not only did each Pilgrim player receive one, the teams’ opponents did too, because mental health is universal–it goes beyond the game. The wristbands were also available for purchase for $1 each, or for $5 you could get 2 bands and 2 stickers. The proceeds were donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Pilgrims were able to raise $102 between both games. The bracelets will continue to be on sale at games, and will also be available at basketball games moving forward. Both NEC hockey programs, and the Athletics department as a whole, hoped to raise awareness for mental health so that athletes and non-athletes alike know that together, we can #shatterthestigma, and work towards better mental health for all.
New England College also has resources on campus for anyone struggling with mental health through the Wellness Center, where there is a great counseling staff ready to help students with any issues they may be having. Counseling services are available Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They also have a psychiatric nurse practitioner available two Fridays a month.