By Nicholas Rosa, Staff Writer
A student organization, The Hidden Opponent (THO), handed out ribbons to students to help bring awareness to mental health. THO has student-led organizations, referred to as chapters, that are run by campus captain ambassadors across the United States.
THO is an “accredited non-profit and advocacy group that raises awareness for student-athlete mental health and addresses the stigma within sports culture,” according to their website. THO was founded by mental health and body image advocate Victoria Garrick. She is a mental health and body image advocate. Garrick is a former division one volleyball player, TED Talk speaker, as well as the host of the podcast, “Real Pod.” Her podcast discusses mental health, body image, and “real talk.”
THO’s mission statement is “to address the negative connotation surrounding mental health especially within sports culture. We plan to promote the conversation of mental health with hopes of improving the culture among student-athletes.”
“We’re handing out green ribbons, which is the same color as The Hidden Opponent logo. It’s to raise awareness as an athletic community for mental health,” senior health science major Emily Cavanaugh said. “I think mental health is so overlooked, especially in athletics and sports culture. As a community at LIU, I think we definitely need to touch upon this subject, especially now during COVID.”
“In athletics you can’t have a mental illness, nor can you have an eating disorder, or any psychiatric issues because your coaches always tell you to push harder,” Cavanaugh said. “I think that as a community, wearing the ribbons is showing your support for those who do have a mental illness. It makes it a much easier environment for those who are struggling to maybe talk about it with a fellow teenager or fellow classmate.”
The Hidden Opponent describes their community as a “safe space for all student-athletes to feel heard, supported, and loved.” They believe that people should be able to speak about mental health without being judged, or viewed as weak.
Students can find out more about The Hidden Opponent by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by following tho_liu on Instagram.