Trae Young discusses mental health in new initiative

Late in the fourth quarter of last night’s win over the Clippers, Hawks point guard Trae Young saw teammate Onyeka Okongwu cut to the brim. Young’s teamwork with Okongwu turned a typical piece into an alley-oop of highlights. That’s what the Hawks and their All-Star point guard do on and off the field. They make the routine look extraordinary and make the routine look extraordinary.

The lob that ended in an electrifying dunk is the perfect example of what a team can accomplish by helping each other. It’s no surprise that Young leads the Eastern Conference in assists, as he’s always looking to elevate others. Just this week, the Hawks and their floor general made headlines with a bold new move that has the potential to save lives.

On Wednesday, the Hawks announced they would team up with Silence the Shame, Inc. for a multi-initiative campaign. Silence the Shame, Inc. (STS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating mental health stigma, reducing health disparities, and improving suicide rates among vulnerable populations. As part of this initiative, the Hawks and Silence the Shame will work with Clayton County Public Schools, Skyland Trail and other community organizations to help normalize conversations about mental wellness and break down the stigma around mental health problems. This content will be an additional effort in support of the ongoing work of the Clayton County School District Student Health and Welfare Department.

To kick off the campaign, Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young and five-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer-songwriter Chlöe took part in a teen mental wellness chat and discussed their mental health and wellness experiences. The on-the-ground discussion moderated by Silence the Shame Founder and CEO, Shanti Das, addresses the uncertainty and anxiety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Young and Chlöe describe their experience with mental health and offer healthy ways to cope with stress. The conversation can be viewed on the official Hawks YouTube channel here.

“We are proud to partner with Silence the Shame for a series of activities that continue conversations about mental health,” said Hawks Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Andrea Carter. “Through our collaborative efforts, we hope young people will help themselves, support others, and make healthy decisions.”

The campaign continues on Sunday, March 20, when the Hawks will raise mental health awareness with a special Silence the Shame spotlight during the team’s home game against New Orleans. A special package will be offered which includes a ticket to the game, admission to the pre-game event and a limited edition Hawks and Silence the Shame co-branded shirt. For every ticket package purchased, a donation will be made to Silence the Shame.

“We are truly grateful to team up with the Atlanta Hawks on a multi-initiative campaign that puts the mental health of our youth first,” said Shanti Das. “Having allies like the Hawks helps amplify our purpose, educate the community about mental wellness and healthy coping, and promote suicide prevention.”

Prior to the start of the game, the Hawks will host a community conversation titled “Sports, Entertainment and Mental Wellness.” The discussion will focus on the importance of prioritizing mental health, tips for improving relationships, and tools to keep depression at bay. This panel, which begins at 4 p.m., will be moderated by Shanti Das and guest speakers include Andrea Carter (VP of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena), Dr. Vaughn Gay (Executive Director for Holistic Atlanta), (12-year NFL veteran) and Jumaine L. Jones (eight-year NBA veteran and founder of Beyond The Hardwood Academy).

The collaboration will end in May, Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month, the Hawks and Silence the Shame will welcome students.

Silence the Shame creates and promotes culturally appropriate content and increases knowledge of the social determinants of mental health and suicide prevention for vulnerable populations. Since 2016, Silence the Shame has worked across the music industry to promote appropriate mental health training and awareness among artists, employees and executives.

The Hawks continue to work with influential organizations to build a stronger Atlanta community. To purchase tickets for the Sunday, March 20 game, in which the Hawks will feature Silence the Shame, visit Hawks.com/SilencetheShame.

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