EitC Joins Sports Leaders At New York Mental Health Conference

Everton in the Community’s Health and Wellbeing Manager Johnnie Garside joined more than 100 leaders in New York recently for the inaugural ‘Stay in the Game Forum’.

The consortium was Beyond Sport’s first-ever convening of leaders from across US sport, healthcare, social change, business, academia and development sectors to explore sport’s potential as a platform and a catalyst to promote mental wellness.

Hosted at the Major League Baseball (MLB) office, the ‘Stay in the Game’ Forum saw Everton in the Community represented alongside many leading US organisations including the Citrone 33 Foundation, USA Cycling, MLS, NBA and NFL.

Building on themes of collaboration, inspiration and education, the Forum opened with remarks from the Action Alliance to set the context before Johnnie joined an expert panel on ‘Sport’s Opportunity’ to address mental health issues alongside representatives from MLB, the Positive Coaching Alliance and the NFL.

Attendees were then inspired by a powerful talk from Beyond Sport Ambassador, NFL Hall of Famer and Impact Foundation President, Brian Dawkins, who shared his own experiences and challenged the room to make sure the conversations went beyond the day.

The day culminated with the launch of the Stay in the Game Network - a new year-round platform that will leverage sport to help change the national conversation on mental health and wellness for the better. Nick Keller, Founder and President of Beyond Sport, led representatives of the Network’s founding member organisations in a discussion on gaps identified by attendees where sport could better maximise its ability to drive collective impact, challenging everyone in the room to work together for solutions.

Reflecting on the inaugural Forum, Everton in the Community Health and Wellbeing Manager Johnnie Garside said “Mental health affects us all, and none more so than within sport where the stakes can so high, so to see the world of sport join together to discuss and strategise how we can collectively help advance this topic within society was amazing. The thing I love about being involved with Beyond Sport is that all of their efforts are coordinated as they pull the right partners together to share expertise that leads to meaningful action being initiated.”

Founder and President of Beyond Sport Nick Keller added: “Mental wellness is something that touches all our lives and sport has an opportunity to lead - through the athletes that speak openly, through creating the right environment for openness and through the benefits of participation. To bring the leagues together with such knowledgeable partners means we have the opportunity to grow a valuable network that allows us to break down barriers and encourage positive change within the industry around this vital issue.”

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