Student Athletes Advocate for Mental Health

Congratulations to Greenbrook's summer intern, Olivia Lubarsky! Olivia, a gymnast at Towson University, started a mental health iniative for student athletes as a sophomore. Olivia's initiative, called Own Your Roar, was started "to implement a mental health campaign in order to validate, destigmatize, and raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, as well as additionally work towards building strength in our program." For Olivia, Own Your Roar is an "expression of my passion to make a difference within my immediate environment. I wanted to utilize my fortunate position as a Towson student-athlete to unite mental health and athletics, making a statement while using sports as the platform to increase awareness and start the conversation about the hidden epidemic that is mental health."

Thanks to Olivia's hard work, Towson was selected as one of 15 universities for the We Are All a Little "Crazy" College Campus Tour. The #SameHere Sit Down College Campus Tour will bring the message of mental health awareness to select universities across the country and features ESPN Sports Business Reporter, Darren Rovell, live music by Luke James Shaffer, and Eric Kussin, founder of We’re All A Little “Crazy,” as the host. We Are All a Little "Crazy" is a non-profit whose mission it is to end the stigma around mental health through open dialogue about life's struggles and successes. 

As a panelist during this event, Olivia spoke about her experiences as an athlete and how, like many other athletes, the same drive that propelled her to success in gymnastics also caused her to put a lot of presssure on herself. When she started struggling with her mental health, she did research and realized that depression, anxiety, and other conditions are treatable and are not a sign of weakness or failure.  Olivia and the other panelists spoke to the fact student athletes can be more prone to depression and anxiety because of several risk factors, including:

  • Over-training
  • Balancing heavy athletic workload with schoolwork
  • The pressure to deliver peak performance
  • Lack of rest/sleep
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Injuries

By being open and honest about their struggles, the panelists said that they discovered that many of their peers were struggling with the same issues. This is why it's so important to speak out for mental health awareness-- it helps diminish the stigma and encourages people to get help. We applaud Olivia, the other panelists, and Towson University for being part of this important event.