June 5, 2019


News Image

MSU Billings student athletes speak out about suicide prevention 



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266

MSU BILLINGS NEWSStudent athletes from Montana State University Billings baseball and women’s basketball teams spoke on camera about suicide prevention at a debate May 21, hosted on the MSU Billings campus. “Let’s Talk,” an affiliate of Global Health Equity Foundation (GHEF), and MSU Billings students hosted the debate.

Taylor Edwards and Carson Woolery, recent graduates of the university, shared stories of their own hardships of overcoming injuries, depression and personal challenges in an hour-long interview with GHEF founder Tayeb Al-Hafez, Ph.D.

“It’s been a crazy ride,” said Edwards, a woman’s basketball player from Great Falls. “I tore my ACL my sophomore year, hit a lull. I hit a rough patch I had to fight through… Physically I hit a lot of road blocks, but more mentally, regaining my self-confidence.”

Woolery, a baseball player from Caldwell, Idaho shared that student athletes face unique pressures to remain tough and harbor their difficult feelings inside.

“When they are able to share such feelings or personal difficulties with a teammate, the challenges become much easier to bear,” said Woolery.

Several suggestions came from the suicide prevention debate. Both students called for the need for coaches to encourage student athletes to use campus counseling services and discuss emotional vulnerabilities with each other. Al-Hafez suggested the development of a workshop on mental health and well-being for student athletes as well as encouraging all students to use on-campus mental health services by addressing the need to talk about hardships at orientation.

The next steps are to create a short film with the footage from the debate to inspire other student athletes to share their stories and to raise awareness of mental health in athletics. A training module for coaches and new students to encourage dialogue about mental health challenges and how to direct students in the right direction will also be created.

The event was organized and filmed by MSUB psychology student Emily St. John, as part of her work with “Let’s Talk,” a community-based media project for suicide prevention, founded by the Global Health Equity Foundation (GHEF). GHEF is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization based in Miles City which aims to reduce gaps in health equity worldwide. For more information, visit the GHEF website.

Let's Talk and Global Health Equity Foundation

For additional information contact Sarah Keller, Ph.D., co-founder of “Let’s Talk Billings” at skeller@msubillings.edu or 406-896-5824. To learn more about MSUB student involvement, contact Emily St. John at emilystjohn1999@yahoo.com.