New mental health campaign aims to show students they are worth it

Oregon State University is launching a mental health awareness initiative called #DamWorthIt. University officials said the campaign has been in the works for months and is not a direct result of the tragedy at Washington State University.

Posted: Jan. 17, 2018 1:02 PM
Updated: Jan. 17, 2018 5:46 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Student-athletes deal with intense demands between practice, travel schedules, the stress of competing, and the everyday pressures of being a college student. That is why Oregon State University wants to bring mental health to the forefront with a new project called #DamWorthIt.

Studies show the physical and psychological demands student-athletes deal with can lead to depression-like symptoms that are far higher than the median age group. And women are almost twice as likely to show symptoms of depression.

Former Oregon State gymnast Taylor Ricci and current men's soccer member Nathan Braaten spearheaded conversation through the mental health awareness initiative.

"Our goal is to destigmatize and spread awareness about the epidemic of mental health in collegiate athletics," Ricci said. "The stresses of performing at a high level both academically and athletically are intense, and can lead to severe depression and in some cases suicide, as we tragically learned at Washington State this week and recently on the OSU campus."

The #DamWorthIt Campaign will have a large presence throughout OSU Athletics, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and during campus events.

On Jan. 18, there will be two booths staffed by student-athletes and OSU's Counseling and Psychological Services at Gill Coliseum.

"It's a chance for individuals to understand resources are available for people of all walks of life to gain assistance," said Braaten.

The campaign will have a presence at the Jan. 28 wrestling meet vs. Northern Colorado, the Feb. 2 women's basketball game vs. Stanford and the Feb. 17 gymnastics meet vs. Arizona.

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