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Former NFL player Ryan Mundy launched his community dedicated to mental health yesterday.
Known as the “Alkeme Athlete Coalition,” or “AAC,” the community’s main efforts include providing mental health resources to people, particularly athletes of all divisions and experience levels.
With the new coalition, Mundy and his company will create a place where the athletes can gather to locate Alkeme mental health sessions, workshops curated by mental health experts and a newsletter aimed at sports players, amongst other links.
To celebrate the launch of the new community, the Coalition will hold workshops and events; created alongside the NFL Players Association. The mental health activities will also be supported by the likes of the University of Michigan Football Coach, Mike Hart; Nike Master Trainer, David Carson; Senior Director of Clinical Services and Player Well Being for Major League Series, Dr. Victor Kidd, amongst others.
According to Mundy, the idea for the community and the Alkeme company came from his own experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inspired by isolation, he realized that, to be happy, he needed to learn more about himself.
“I’ve been an athlete my entire life and I uniquely understand the challenges and pressures that athletes face on and off the playing surface,” said Mundy in a public statement. “The goal of the Alkeme Athlete Coalition is to serve athletes of all levels in an effort to build awareness, reduce stigma, and create avenues for athletes to win within.”
The struggles of Black men with mental health have been highlighted in recent years. According to studies by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, Black Americans, in general, have an increased 20% chance of struggling with psychological distress, such as major depressive disorder. When they’re diagnosed with these mental health struggles, Black Americans are often struggling more with treatment and often have more persistent symptoms than white Americans.
Due to these struggles, suicide is now listed as the “third leading cause of death” amongst Black Americans in their mid-teens to early twenties. When compared to Black women, Black men are four times more likely to take their lives as a result of mental health struggles.
Despite these higher rates, Black men make up some of the lowest rates when it comes to receiving mental health help. According to the American Psychological Association, just 26.4% of Black and Hispanic men from the ages of 18 to 44 have gone to receive professional health for feelings of depression and anxiety.
Amongst the reasons why these rates remain at a lower level include implicit bias, less access to mental health services, structural racism and lack of same-race providers in the field.