On Friday, Feb. 11, the Castleton University Men’s Hockey team will host the inaugural Breaking the Ice on Mental Health event as they take on UMASS Boston in a 7 p.m. game at Spartan Arena.
Head Coach Kyle Richards and his team are excited to partner with Rutland Regional Medical Center to raise awareness and support for mental health services. They are hopeful the event will have the same impact in the community as the Castleton Women’s Hockey team’s annual Pink the Rink in support of the Foley Cancer Center at Rutland Regional.
Martha Coulter, director of Castleton University’s Wellness Center, is thrilled the team will host the Breaking the Ice on Mental Health event to raise awareness and funds for Rutland Regional’s outpatient Behavioral Health program which provides vital services for the community, including Castleton students.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued in December an advisory called “Protecting Youth Mental Health,” noting that children and young adults were already facing a mental health crisis even before the coronavirus pandemic began. One in three high school students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, a 40% increase from 2009 to 2019. Suicide rates went up during that time by 57% among youth ages 10 to 24. During the pandemic, rates of anxiety and depression have increased.
College students are also reporting an increase in mental health concerns. The Healthy Minds Network survey was administered to nearly 30,000 college students during the fall 2020 semester. Two-thirds of college students reported struggling with loneliness and feeling isolated, reflecting the toll of the pandemic and the social distancing necessary to control it. Half of the students responding to the survey screened positive for depression and/or anxiety.
Castleton University is committed to supporting the overall health and well-being of its students. For the past three years, Castleton has partnered with The JED Foundation to assess and enhance mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention efforts on campus. Castleton supports a multi-dimensional approach to student wellness, including a Student Wellness Task Force. The campus-wide team consists of students, faculty, staff and community partners, and helps empower students to make educated and responsible decisions regarding their wellness and the wellness of others. One of the most important priorities of this initiative has been to offer additional training for students, faculty and staff in learning how to recognize students in distress and how to appropriate support.
Raising awareness and destigmatizing mental health is essential to encourage people to seek help. As the men’s hockey team highlights the importance of talking about mental health, the message encourages our students and other young adults to ask for help when they need it.
Sheila Sharrow, LICSW, Manager, Rutland Regional Behavioral Health (RRBH), believes the Breaking the Ice on Mental Health event is an important reminder that it is okay if you have mental health symptoms and more importantly, it is okay to seek resources and professional help. Mental health conditions can impact anyone at any time. We are hopeful that this event will allow people to take healthy steps to improving their quality of life.
RRBH remains dedicated to providing the best care for each patient’s needs. Staff works closely together to encourage patients to address their symptoms in the healthiest and most effective ways possible, using evidence-based treatment and prescription protocols to facilitate the health of patients and our community.
So, put on your green and join the Castleton University Men’s Hockey team at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, as they break the ice on mental health.
This week’s Health Talk was co-written by Martha Coulter, psychologist-master and Wellness Center director at Castleton University; and Sheila Sharrow, manager of Rutland Regional Behavioral Health.