October 2, 2022

Bills, NFL Foundation to assist Mental Health Advocates of Western New York 

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In recent years, athletes have felt more comfortable speaking out about how professional sports impact their mental health. For the longest time, toxic lines like “Shut up and dribble” have made it seem like athletes are just there for entertainment and haven’t been treated like human beings. Even though they play sports on a professional level, they still go through ups and downs and have personal struggles from time to time. Now we are starting to hear more messages from athletes of all levels and sports talk about their mental health needs.

“To speak about it, even personally, you should never feel alone in any situation,” Bills’ left tackle Dion Dawkins shared. “There are so many different people in this world that can help with so many different things in life and mental health is one of them. People go to college and study ways to help, ways to strengthen, ways to overcome, and ways to get over personal battles and individual battles. …

“There are so many people out there that want to help. You just have to understand that being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it’s a strength. And opening your heart to help is not a weakness, that is also a strength. Understanding where you might be a little less than others is also a strength and not a weakness. And it’s just important to simply step confidently in the direction that you want to go in life.”

From people old to young, mental health matters and everyone should be able to get the help that they need. This grant will ensure that proper behavior skills will be taught to kids at a young age to set them up for success and a brighter future.

“Funding provided by the Buffalo Bills organization and NFL Foundation Social Responsibility Grant will enable us to spread the message that mental health starts at an early age,” Montanari said. “When we teach SEL skills to young children we are increasing their ability to grow up to be healthier, happier adolescents and adults. The willingness of the Buffalo Bills to support mental health education provided by the BEST Program proves that they understand the importance of preparing for a mentally healthier future.”

For more information on the Mental Health Advocates of Western New York, click here.

For more information on their (BEST) Basic Emotional Skills Training, click here.



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