SAM’S CORNER: Standing up for mental health, breaking the stigma of not talking about it

Hi Wildcat fans,

It was the second week of official training and a step closer to match day.

Hope you all saw our non-conference program coming out. Our first exhibition game this month is the 28th against Eastern New Mexico. Our official season opener is Nov. 9 against Cal State Northridge. I’m very excited to start this season and play in front of the best fans.

This week in training we have been working a lot on defense. As last year’s team saw, defense is key to our game and we’re proud to get saves. As we have a fairly new team, it’s a lot of teaching and rotating work. You will be able to see the progress we made in our first game.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS PREVIOUS SAM CORNER COLUMNS BY SAM THOMAS

In addition to working on defense, we also had a team scrum this week. We have brought in referees to review the new rules for this season. You’d be surprised how many new rules appear, or rules you didn’t even know existed.

More importantly than the practice updates, this week was Mental Health Awareness Week. As many of you know, I am a big advocate for mental health and break the stigma of not talking about it. Every day this week there was an activity to educate student-athletes about mental health to relieve them of the stress of school and academics. For example, on Thursday there was a yoga class offered at McKale for student-athletes. M

My favorite day Wednesday we had a guest speaker, Victoria garrick. I’ve been a fan of her for years, watch her YouTube videos and follow her TikTok page. She played volleyball at USC for four years and has been a strong advocate for mental health and body positivity. When I heard she was coming to speak, I was so excited and knew I had to be there.

When you are able to listen to someone who has been in your shoes and has been through issues similar to yours, it means a little more to you. As a former athlete, she shared many stories about worrying about missing a game or worrying about sleeping through your alarm, which almost every athlete has experienced.

His speech meant a lot to me and I was so happy to be able to listen to him and have a better understanding of mental health. One thing she told me is that when you need to become a more consistent shooter you have a coach work on your form and get some extra shots. If you’re having trouble in class, you turn to a counselor and they put you in more study rooms or tutoring sessions. No one questions or thinks differently from people who are going to get extra help in these areas.

Victoria then mentioned, why do we feel like when we need help with our mental health and go to see a therapist / psychologist it makes us feel uncomfortable or we try to hide it? It is important to talk about mental health and change this stigma!

Sam thomas is a senior executive with Adia Barnes’ return program for its sixth season in 2021-2022 as granted by the NCAA due to last season impacted by the COVID-19 protocol. She agreed to write a weekly column for AllSportsTucson.com. His Arizona honors include:

2021 Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year
2021 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American
Elite 90 award winner
2021 All-Pac-12
2020 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention
2020 & 2021 Pac-12 All-Defense
Winter Academic Honor Roll 2020 & 2021 Pac-12
First academic team from all districts CoSIDA 2019
2019 All-Academic Pac-12 First Team
2018 Pac-12 All-Freshman
2018 Arizona Athletics Female Freshman of the Year







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