Troy High dodge ball event raises awareness for mental health

- Knocking out the stigma of depression and anxiety - that is the idea behind a dodgeball tournament in Troy.

Dozens of Troy High School students were not getting a lesson - but teaching one about how to deal with mental illness when it strikes.

FOX 2's Alan Longstreet took part and seven seconds into the tournament with Troy students, he was out of round one. "I don't want to talk about it," he quipped.

Depression and anxiety were the reasons Troy hosted a dodgeball tournament Friday.

"We thought it would be a fun way to bring awareness to that," said teacher Harriet Clark. "Versus, we're going to sit and do something really serious and study mental health. It might be (better) to do a fun twist on it and get attention that way."

Also bringing attention to the fundraiser was Lions kicker Matt Prater and FOX 2's Deena Centofanti.  The message? Mental health issues can affect anyone and there should be no shame. 

"Professional athletes included could be affected by it," Prater said. "So it's nice to get the awareness out."

We can talk so easily about heart disease, diabetes, cancer, but there is still some shame involved that needs to go away when we talk about mental illness," Deena Centofanti said.

  Knocking out the stigma - one ball at a time. It won't go away on its own. It takes talking about it, even if it's tough at first.  

Troy high school students lost a student to suicide just this school year. Students want others to realize no matter how tough it can be; life is worth living. 

"Everyone's trying to fit this perfect persona of what high school should be like," said student Trinh Pafford. "But I feel like it's a great message to say it's OK to be hurt it's OK to cry."

The seniors beat the teachers and our Alan Longstreet decisively. But the strength of the message-  conquering the stigma of depression. A message no one dodged on Friday.

If you would like to get any help at all for depression and or anxiety, go to http://mentalhealth.gov/
 

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