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Students use April 7 game for mental health awareness

March 29, 2023

Northwood Students, in partnership with the university’s counseling center, hosted a mental health awareness game April 7 at Fisher Stadium against Malone University.

Both teams’ players wore mental health awareness stickers on their helmets as well as wearing mental health awareness warmups, according to Lauren Bennett, a graduate student and Northwood University softball player from Luisville, Ohio.

During the April 7 game, stickers and shirts were available for purchase for fans, and donations were accepted.

“All profits will go to the B#4 Foundation, honoring the life of a fellow athlete and Ithaca student, Brady Bessbrook,” stated Bennett.

The event was created to spread awareness for mental health and the I Hear You Project, a mental health project that Bennett started at Malone University and then initiated at Northwood University. The program at Malone continues to operate and help students to this day.

“The I Hear You Project is focused on getting students and staff mental health first aid certified, so they can become educational resources and servers of mental health help on campus,” Bennett stated.

“Not only will participants be able to help others, but they will also be equipped with the knowledge and self-awareness to help themselves,” noted Northwood Counseling Center Director Andy Sovis. “The certification is an eight-hour training that educates participants about common mental illnesses in adults; creates an action plan for crisis situations; and involves simulations of real-life scenarios.”

Once certified, participants are given a green tag to display in a visible location (bookbag, sports bag, dorm room door) that tells students who are struggling that this is a person they can talk to.

Both Northwood and Malone have current students who participate in the I Hear You Project and advocate for mental health on a daily basis. The April 7 softball game allowed both teams to come together and spread awareness for mental health.

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