by Jessie Blanchard
This Saturday the Dalhousie Tigers men’s and women’s basketball teams have partnered with the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI) for a Make Some Noise for Mental Health campaign at their home games against the Memorial Sea-Hawks. SAMHI is a not-for-profit organization that advocates and supports the mental well-being of student athletes. Robbi Daley, a member of the Tigers women’s basketball team, was the driving force behind this idea and the organization of the event.
Daley decided to host this campaign after losing a close friend to suicide last spring. “This situation made me more aware of the issue of mental health and the importance of ending the stigma surrounding it,” said Daley. Daley educated herself by doing research and came across Krista’s story (the founder of SAMHI) of which she thought, “…her story about her depression and battle to overcome it was so inspiring and after finding out about her initiative I wanted to contribute in some way.” As a varsity athlete on the basketball team, she was able to combine her passion for sport and for this initiative to create the concept of a Make Some Noise home game. Daley hopes this is the first of many Make Some Noise games and that it can spread to other schools. Daley believes, “The Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative is important because more and more we are hearing stories about people who are suffering from mental illness alone, when this should never be the case; especially in sport, where you have a team and coaches who can support you. You just have to reach out.”
SAMHI’s mission is to support the mental health of student-athletes to help them flourish in and out of competition, across all life domains. Samantha DeLenardo and Krista Van Slingerland co-founded SAMHI and are both former and current varsity athletes themselves. Krista continues to play for the Ottawa Gee-Gees women’s basketball team and is striving to ensure that other athletes like her do not struggle in silence, as she did.
Here at Dalhousie, we also have the Student Health Promotion team. They collaborate with campus and community resources to deliver health promotion and prevention initiatives that heighten awareness, increase knowledge, and direct students to appropriate resources. The Health Promotion team will also be participating in the Make Some Noise game on Saturday.
The Make Some Noise game is one you do not want to miss. There will be t-shirt tosses provided by sponsors including East Coast Lifestyle and Lawtons, along with a travelling photo booth with the Tiger. Make sure you stay for half time during the men’s game to hear from Liz McLaughlin who lost her son Alex McLaughlin, Daley’s friend mentioned above, to suicide last spring and for the opportunity to Make Some Noise for mental health awareness.