New to Target USA CUP this year is Speak Up, a day dedicated to spreading awareness about mental health in sports. Annie Juergens, Sports and Recreation Coordinator at the National Sports Center, has put in countless hours preparing for this day. Annie created Speak Up at USA CUP because she is passionate about mental health awareness and support in sports.
Annie explained the importance of Speak Up, stating that “There’s an underlying stigma surrounding mental health in sports that athletes are ‘too tough’ to suffer from mental illness. So, spreading this awareness shows that the National Sports Center and Target USA CUP supports all athletes who may be suffering from any type of mental illness.”
Annie mentioned that Speak Up is a mental health awareness initiative that involves 3 pillars: awareness, education, and community. On campus today, visitors can see these 3 pillars represented. There are signs with the Speak Up logo and lifeline to encourage athletes, coaches, and family members to start a dialogue surrounding mental health. There are also 6 educational sessions throughout the day presented by the U.S. Center for Mental Health and Sport and Mark Wick, a college hockey coach and mental health advocate. In addition, 5 local nonprofit mental health organizations are on campus today.
To get involved in the cause, Annie said to “spread the word that it’s okay not to be okay, be there for one another, and wear green in support of mental health awareness.”
If you or a loved one is in need, call the lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Thank you Annie for helping raise awareness for such an important cause and for all the hours you put into planning such a great event!