Trae Young Discusses Mental Health in New Initiative

Late in the fourth quarter of last night’s win over the Clippers, Hawks point guard Trae Young saw his teammate Onyeka Okongwu cutting to the rim. Young’s teamwork with Okongwu turned a typical play into a highlight reel alley-oop. That’s what the Hawks and their All-Star point guard do on and off the court. They make the routine look extraordinary and make the extraordinary look routine.

The lob which finished with an electrifying dunk, is the perfect example of what a team can accomplish when helping each other. It’s no surprise that Young leads the Eastern Conference in assists, as he’s always looking to elevate others. Just this week, the Hawks and their floor general made headlines with a bold new initiative that has the potential to save lives.

On Wednesday, the Hawks announced they will team up with Silence the Shame, Inc. for a multi-initiative campaign. Silence the Shame, Inc. (STS) is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating mental health stigma, reducing health disparities, and improving suicide rates among vulnerable populations. As part of this initiative, the Hawks and Silence the Shame will collaborate with Clayton County Public Schools, Skyland Trail, and other community organizations to help normalize mental wellness conversations and erase the stigma around mental health challenges. This content will be an additional effort of support toward the ongoing work of Clayton County school district’s Department of Student Health & Wellbeing.

To tip off the campaign, Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young and five-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer-songwriter Chlöe participated in a Teen Mental Wellness Courtside Chat and discussed their experiences with mental health and wellness. The courtside chat moderated by Silence the Shame Founder and CEO Shanti Das addresses the uncertainty and anxiety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, both Young and Chlöe describe their experience with mental health and provide healthy ways to cope with stress. The conversation can be viewed on the Hawks’ official YouTube channel here.

“We are proud to team up with Silence the Shame for a series of activities that continue conversations surrounding mental health,” said Hawks’ Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Andrea Carter. “Through our collaborative efforts, we hope young people will help themselves, support others and make healthy decisions.”

The campaign will continue on Sunday, March 20, in which the Hawks will bring awareness about mental health with a special Silence the Shame spotlight during the team’s home game versus New Orleans. A special package will be offered that includes a ticket to the game, admission to the pre-game event, and a limited-edition Hawks and Silence the Shame co-branded shirt. For each ticket package bought, a donation will be made to Silence the Shame.

“We are truly grateful to team up with the Atlanta Hawks for a multi-initiative campaign that puts our young people’s mental health at the forefront,” said Shanti Das. “Having allies like the Hawks help to amplify our purpose, educate the community on mental wellness and healthy coping, and promote suicide prevention.”

Prior to the start of the game, the Hawks will host a community conversation titled “Sports, Entertainment and Mental Wellness.” The discussion will emphasize the importance of prioritizing mental health, tips for improving connections, and tools for keeping depression at bay. This panel, which will begin at 4 pm, will be moderated by Shanti Das and featured speakers include Andrea Carter (Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for the Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena), Dr. Vaughn Gay (Executive Director for Holistic Atlanta), (12-Year NFL Veteran) and Jumaine L. Jones (Eight-Year NBA Veteran and Founder of Beyond The Hardwood Academy).

The collaboration will wrap up in May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month, the Hawks and Silence the Shame will host students.

Silence the Shame creates and promotes culturally responsive content and increases literacy on social determinants of mental health & suicide prevention for vulnerable populations. Since 2016, Silence the Shame has been working throughout the music industry to promote proper mental health training and awareness among artists, employees and executives.

The Hawks continue to work with impactful organizations to build a stronger Atlanta community. To purchase tickets to the game on Sunday, March 20, in which the Hawks will spotlight Silence the Shame, visit Hawks.com/SilencetheShame.

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