Written by Desiree Melancon
Photos by Maisy Hoffman
Mental Health awareness month May has just ended, and we at Slush acknowledge that Mental Health is not a fleeting endeavor but instead, a 24-7 daily battle that many live with. We also recognize that Mental Health resources are scarce and can at times be predetermined by privilege, proximity, and economic standing. Unfortunately asking for help and reaching out about Mental Health has historically been stigmatized in our landscape. These barriers have often led to people in our direct communities wishing for help but unable to find it.
S.T.A.Y. – Somebody’s Thinking About You is a 501-C3 non-profit coalition dedicated to fighting the stigmas surrounding mental illness in Action Sports by providing ways to educate, navigate, communicate and commiserate all things relating but not limited to anxiety, depression, grief, esteem, addiction, self-harm, suicide ideation and suicide itself.
S.T.A.Y. – Somebody’s Thinking About You is in its beginning phases. We cannot and do not promise to have all the answers, but we want to be a part of the solution. We believe that we are in a national Mental Health emergency. We believe everyone has the right to free Mental Health resources. We believe that you are not alone, that we are not alone, and that somebody’s thinking about you. We believe you should stay, and that the world is better with you in it. We believe that participation in and accessibility to Action Sports promotes good Mental Health. We are committed to adjusting our collective landscape to prioritize Mental Health and provide a safe, accessible, space for all individuals and finally, we are committed to incentivizing our industry to do their part in becoming supportive of this initiative.
Last April, S.T.A.Y. held their first, of hopefully many, Decompression Sessions at Woodward Park City made possible by Salomon Snowboards and Skullcandy.
Decompression Sessions are community events organized around getting individuals together who are curious about exploring their mental health. Structured as a mini-seminar, the day began with information about the non- profit then evolved into guided art therapy practices that are rooted in introspection. Participants were encouraged to have conversations with themselves through journal exercising to gain inner access in considering how they feel, how to hold themselves accountable, and how to ask for help.
After the journal exercise, two guest speakers joined the conversation by sharing their journeys of battling mental health in the realm of Snowboarding. Chris Grenier and Jeremy Jones gave insight to personal struggles associated with addiction, suicide ideation, and depression. These types of discussions are communication efforts to destigmatize mental illness in our landscape, and hope to serve as a catalyst to allow participants to see that we aren’t alone in our mental health journeys.
Following the guest speakers, participants had access to a mindful movement practice led by Leah Klein which focused on warming up the body to cool down the mind. The session closed with full Woodward facility access being provided to participants who attended, where they could do the activities that make them feel good, whether it be snowboarding, skateboarding, biking, jumping on trampolines, or riding a scooter. To entice our crowd to join and participate we also provided a raffle where no individual left empty handed. Everyone went home with an armful of new gear donated from Salomon, Skullcandy, Public, Smith Optics, 686, Crail Tap, Vans Snow, Volcom, Nitro, Shred Mango, Coal Headwear, Slush The Magazine, Torment Magazine and Ride. We would like to thank everyone who made this event possible.
S.T.A.Y. – Somebody’s Thinking About You is hopeful for the future. Our mission is to combat the stigmas surrounding mental illness and reduce the suicide rate in Action Sports. As we grow, we intend to continue to push our mission to the forefront of our industries. To accomplish this our short-term plan is to provide more community events, create online community resources, continue to drive year-round conversations through media outlets and social channels, and finally, to figure out what will most effectively serve our communities in the years to come. Long term, we strive to enter into educational spaces such as public-school systems and Universities. As we gain momentum, funding, and structure, our end goal is to combat public policy in regards to mental health resources and the ways in which we educate our youth about mental health.
Somebody’s thinking about you. You are not alone. Stay.
S.T.A.Y. – SOMEBODY’S THINKING ABOUT YOU was founded by snowboarders Desiree Melancon and Cheyne Brooking. S.T.A.Y. currently functions thanks to the help of Maisy Hoffman, Bryn Valaika, Emily Bergeson, and Leah Klein.
Slush the Magazine is proud to keep the conversation going, to celebrate life, and to destigmatize suicide and mental illness in Action Sports. We have partnered with STAY in sharing their message and intentions along with producing their first available piece of merchandise with all proceeds directed back to STAY.
Support S.T.A.Y. – Somebody’s Thinking About You by purchasing a hoodie or donating to their current fundraising campaign S.T.A.Y. – DENALI - https://www.classy.org/campaign/stay-denali/c410904
If you would like to attend or host a Decompression Session, get in touch, gain more information, or get involved please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask for help. If you or someone you know is in crisis, help is available at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800 – 273 – 8255.