The Colts and Irsay family are using the team's first Monday night home game since 2015 to highlight mental health through Kicking The Stigma, which to date has committed over $17 million to mental health awareness, initiatives and research in Indiana and nationwide.
Colts players and coaches will wear special Kicking The Stigma T-shirts during pregame warmups, which fans can purchase online and at the Colts Pro Shop. Fans can also get a Kicking The Stigma beanie by contributing to Kicking The Stigma, which you can do by clicking here.
And throughout the team's Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, fans will learn more about mental health awareness and what they can do to help and contribute to the effort.
"Our hope is that people will see that and join us, because it's just too important of a topic to be the only one talking about it," Colts Vice Chair/Owner Kalen Jackson said on a recent edition of the Official Colts Podcast.
Jackson said she hopes fans attending the game or watching at home will share Kicking The Stigma messaging on social media and use it as a springboard to discuss mental health with friends and family, and to discover ways to help push mental health awareness, research and treatment forward.
"My dad always talks about, if someone has cancer, you don't judge them for having cancer," Jackson said. "It's not their fault. And there's no difference here. These are diseases and illnesses that are not anyone's fault. And I always say, if anyone's listening, remember the it's not your fault, and that we see you and we know that. I think the conversation is changing. We have a lot of work to do, still, but I think that we're definitely heading in the right direction."
On Monday, Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay and his family announced $1.4 million in Kicking The Stigma Action Grants to mental health-focused nonprofits and organizations, primarily in Indiana. Those nonprofits and organizations receiving grants:
A Kid Again - Indiana Chapter. A Kid Again's mission is to foster hope, happiness and healing for families raising kids with life-threatening conditions. The grant will support its Holiday Balance Box, which provides mental health support for families raising children with life-threatening conditions.
Agape Therapeutic Riding Resources (Indianapolis). Agape's mission is to cultivate personal growth by strengthening the mind, body and spirit through unique horse-assisted experiences. The grant will support its Beyond the Barn program, which addresses mental health through equine therapy and other equestrian activities.
American Academy of Physician Associates (AAPA) (Statewide). Since physician assistants are often the first points of contact for patients in primary care and other practices, the grants funded training in Mental Health First Aid,© which teaches trainees how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses. A cohort of Indiana physician assistants received this initial training at the Colts headquarters in Indianapolis and will go on to train at least 2,000 more people in Indiana.
Ascension St. Vincent Hospital (Indianapolis). The grant will support the hospital system's Question-Persuade-Refer outreach, which trains participants to be able to recognize the warning signs of suicidal thinking, behavior, attempts and "question, persuade and refer" at-risk people for help.
Brightlane Learning (formerly School on Wheels) (Indianapolis). Brightlane's mission is to transform the lives of students impacted by homelessness with personalized tutoring and academic support. The grant will support training in social-emotional learning and trauma informed care for Brightline volunteers.
Brooke's Place (Indianapolis). Brooke's Place provides support groups, therapy services and community education to empower children, teens and their families to thrive in the midst of grief. The grant will support its Youth Grief Access Project (Y-Gap), a program centered around peer support groups and individual therapy.
Carmel (Ind.) Education Foundation. The grant will support the Carmel schools' Rise & Grow Fund, which provides mental health services for Carmel students in need to help prepare them for positive outcomes in all areas of their life.
Courageous Healing (Fort Wayne). Courageous Healing's mission is to restore, strengthen and facilitate healing through culturally centered mental health services and supports. The grant will support programming that serves uninsured, underinsured, and low-income Hoosiers, with an intentional focus on targeting minority populations in northeast Indiana.
Greenwood (Ind.) Education Foundation (GEF). During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became apparent that students could not reach their full academic potential if their physical, mental, emotional and social needs had not been met. The grant will fund the GEF Cares Youth & Family Assistance Program, which was created to help make food, clothing and mental health resources affordable and accessible for the youth and families in the Greenwood schools.
Hamilton Southeastern Education Foundation (Fishers).The grant will support the foundation's Project HOPE Fund, which provides students in need with access to school-based mental health services.
HVAF of Indiana (Statewide). HVAF houses, supports and advocates for veterans and their families to achieve a better quality of life and serves veterans experiencing homelessness and those at risk of homelessness. The grant will support HVAF's therapy program, which offers intensive therapy services through a full-time licensed mental health clinician and two full-time peer mentors.
Indiana University Southeast School of Nursing (New Albany). The grant will fund training in Mental Health First Aid for the school's nursing students.
Indiana Youth Group (IYG) (Statewide). IYG creates safer spaces to foster community and provides programming that empowers and magnifies the voices of LGBTQ+ youth. The grant will support Help Us Grow Stronger, IYG's mental health counseling program.
Mental Health America (MHA) of Indiana (Statewide). MHA of Indiana values the need to work collaboratively with a variety of organizations that can help leverage the communities they serve through promotion of prevention for all, early identification, intervention for those at risk, integrated health and behavioral health care for those who need it and recovery as a goal.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Greater Indianapolis. NAMI Greater Indianapolis is a grass-roots family, friend and consumer organization working with NAMI Indiana and NAMI National to improve the lives of persons and families affected by mental illness through education, support and advocacy.
Noblesville (Ind.) Schools Education Foundation. The purpose of Noblesville Schools Education Foundation is to promote and invest in the Noblesville schools through grants, scholarships, strategic partnerships and volunteer support. The grant will fund mental health support services for Noblesville schools' student and staff.
Postpartum Support International Indiana (PSI-IN). PSI-IN promotes awareness, prevention and treatment of mental health issues related to childbearing across Indiana. The grant will support its statewideHigh-Risk Training Initiative for Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder.
Project Healthy Minds (National). Project Healthy Minds is a millennial-driven organization that builds anti-stigma campaigns that change attitudes, technology that makes it easier and faster to discover help, and programs and partnerships that expand access to care.Its two centerpieces are: building a free, one-stop digital referral platform to increase access to care and designing a multi-platform anti-stigma campaign featuring culture-makers and influencers.
Public Advocates in Community Re-Entry (Indianapolis). Its mission is to provide a variety of services to incarcerated and previously incarcerated individuals and their families to lead productive and responsible lives in their community. The grants will fund certified peer recovery coaches who bring the lived experience of substance use disorder and recovery, combined with professionalized training, to assist others on their journeys to recovery.
Riley Children's Foundation (Statewide). The grant will fund Riley's Indiana Behavioral Access Program for Youth (Be Happy), which aims to improve Hoosier families' access to best practice pediatric behavioral health care across the state by supporting health care providers in their local communities with guidance from psychiatric specialists.
Step-Up (Indianapolis). Step-Up provides comprehensive HIV care and resources for wellness with dignity and inclusivity. The grant will support its Reentry Program, which provides wraparound supports such as mental health and substance use disorder counseling, resources for transportation, housing and employment, and ongoing support for people involved in the criminal justice system.
The Milk Bank (Statewide). The Milk Bank promotes community health by expanding the safe use of human milk for all babies, especially premature and ill infants. The grant will support its Mind Body Spirit Group facilitation, an evidenced-based program for healing population-wide psychological trauma and stress.
Tindley Accelerated Schools (Indianapolis). The grant will support a "reset room" as part of the Indianapolis charter school network's Enhanced Behavioral Health Services.
For more information on Kicking The Stigma, and to learn how you can get involved, visit Colts.com/KTS.