Hawks executive Andrea Carter discusses mental health

Hawks executive Andrea Carter discusses mental health
Silence the Shame volunteers with CEO/Founder Shanti Das (4th from left) and VP of Corporate Social Responsibility, Andrea Carter(far right) [Photo Courtesy of the Atlanta Hawks]
The high-flying Atlanta Hawks are more than a basketball team in the NBA. They are also known for hosting events and programs which brings awareness to the community.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. During this month, the Hawks hosted a much anticipated event with Silence the Shame, Inc., which is a mental awareness non-profit organization known for empowering and educating people who are impacted by some form of mental disorder.

“We are proud to continue conversations surrounding mental health with Silence the Shame for the Youth Mental Wellness COPE Clinic,” said Hawks’ Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Andrea Carter. “Through our ongoing collaborative efforts, we hope young people will help themselves, support others and make healthy decisions.”

The Atlanta Hawks are a beacon in the community. Ms. Carter took a few minutes to share with rolling out the importance of the organization’s participation in community events.

Why is it important for the Atlanta Hawks to address mental illness?
We recognize that mental wellness is something that needs to be addressed 365 days a year, not just during this month, which May is Mental Health Awareness Month. So at the beginning of the season, we formed a partnership with Silence the Shame that was really multipronged in terms of what we were going to do throughout the season. So we started off with a courtside chat with Shanti, the founder with Trey Young, and also with Chloe Bailey, singer and actress. And so that was the first point really talking to teens about mental wellness in a way that was relatable, they could see people that look like them having this conversation. And this program, which is a Teen Summit, to talk about mental wellness which is a fun and interactive way where we’re teaching them about coping skills on how to guard your mental health, but in a way that they can really relate to and be engaged in.

What are three key takeaways from the Youth Mental Wellness COPE Clinic?

  1. I would say that it’s okay not to be okay. But you can’t stay in that place. You need to be able to get to a trusted adult and get some support around getting out of that place. I think that’s been huge. I think if we can get kids to know that, for me, that is the biggest and greatest takeaway.
  2. I think the other piece is really speaks to the name of the organization, which is around silence and the shame really having conversations around normalizing what mental wellness looks like.
  3. If you look around here today, you will see lots of African American young ladies and men and I think in our communities, we don’t often have enough conversations around mental wellness. So the fact that we’re doing [this event] and then we’re starting with a teen population is huge.
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