Mental Health Awareness Month starts with an NFL roundtable.

Mental Health Awareness Month starts with an NFL roundtable.

The roundtable was part of week-long virtual fundraiser to support non-profits so they can expand mental health services throughout the community.  “I’m one of the tens of millions of people that have suffered in silence with mental health,” said Daly, who talked about having a panic attack once during a live broadcast he was hosting.  It’s all part of an initiative called “Kicking the Stigma” started by the Indianapolis Colts and team’s owners, the Irsay family. Its aim is to raise awareness about mental health disorders and take away the stigma that often goes along with them. 

Monday’s virtual discussion, hosted by Carson Daly of NBC’s The Voice and the TODAY Show, kicked off Mental Health Awareness Month.  “It’s OK to not be OK, but you got to find a way to fight through it, to find a way to get some help,” said Leonard. 

Daly talked about his own struggles with anxiety.  On Monday, a group of NFL players from around the league, including the Colts’ Darius Leonard, talked about what it feels like to have a panic attack. 

“The biggest thing we can do is talk and be vulnerable,” said Raiders’ defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, whose sister died by suicide. “When I speak, I talk about the power of vulnerability because that’s when you connect with someone.” RELATED: Colts owners “Kicking the Stigma” of mental health illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, millions of people in the US are affected by mental health issues every year. By NAMI’s count, 1 in 5 adults in the United States deal with some sort of mental health disorder each year. 1 in 20 deal with a serious mental illness, and nearly half of the people who die by suicide each year were living with a diagnosed mental health condition.  “It really takes all of us working together to create real change in the mental health space,” said Colts vice chair and owner Kalen Jackson. 

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  • Mental Health Awareness Month starts with an NFL roundtable.
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