KANSAS CITY, Mo. — World Mental Health Day is Tuesday. So, student-athletes, the Kansas City Royals and athletic directors from across the Kansas City metro are coming together for a movie night.
It’s a documentary designed to show parents, coaches and teammates what it’s like to feel “Not Good Enough” and make a change.
“Why’d you drop that ball? It’s so easy to catch,” a student athlete said.
Some words stay with you. Tony Snethen with the Kansas City Royals said the sting can last long after the game is over.
That’s why the Royals teamed up with Blue KC to create this documentary, exploring what it’s like to feel “Not Good Enough.”
“We need to let the kids explore and grow,” Snethen said. “Ultimately, we want people to take a look in the mirror and say am I doing it right? Am I letting my kid drive the cart? And hopefully we make a difference with that.”
It’s part of their continued efforts to Shut Out the Stigma, in turn bringing awareness to the topic of mental health.
He said 70% of Athletes quit their sport by the time they turn 13.
“We actually interviewed a couple of kids who had the thought of taking their own life and it changed my life,” Snethen said.
In the documentary, you’ll hear from local parents, coaches, mental health professionals and young athletes, like Evan Skidmore.
He struggled with intrusive thoughts.
Skidmore said it was hard hearing his friends’ parents yell at basketball games.
“I didn’t want that to happen because I could see that was hurting him inside,” Skidmore said about his friend.
Mom Julia Heinrichs said she wants parents to just let the kids play.
“We’ve seen police called,” Heinrichs said. “We’ve seen people threaten to run over other people in the parking lot after games. It’s ridiculous.”
Dr. Raelene Knolla wants families to keep the fun in playing sports, instead of putting pressure on student-athletes, which she said can lead to other mental health conditions.
Knolla said the second leading cause of death in ages 10–24-year-olds is suicide.
“These kids need to be able to make mistakes, pick themselves up, learn how to be resilient, learn how to have a growth mindset and be able to look at their
failures and do better the next time,” Knolla said. “
Knolla sees this film as a tool to help the health and well-being of student-athletes, she said as long as the community listens.
She believes everyone can benefit from seeing the documentary and hopes every district in the area will show it in schools.
Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools Superintendent Anna Stubblefield said that’s a possibility.
“Embrace and understand that it’s ok to not be okay and it’s ok to ask for help,” Stubblefield said.
Meantime, Skidmore has a message to parents and coaches: “Take it easy on your kids,” Skidmore said. “I mean, we’re only kids.”
Following the film they held a panel discussion. Skidmore and Knolla answered questions.
If you would like to watch the 45 minute documentary, it’s online now. Click here.