WNE Basketball Teams Participating in ‘Hope Happens Here’ Mental Health Awareness Initiative

WNE Basketball Teams Participating in ‘Hope Happens Here’ Mental Health Awareness Initiative

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 19, 2019) – The Western New England University women's and men's basketball teams will be participating in a Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) initiative to raise mental health awareness during Saturday's doubleheader against Gordon College at the Alumni Healthful Living Center. The event will be in partnership with Hope Happens Here (H3), a foundation dedicated to educating others on mental health issues.


Each team will be warming up with shirts with the H3 logo in their own school's colors. There will be tables at the game with materials intended to help educate people on mental health and the stigma that surrounds it. The PA announcers will also be sharing information and facts regarding mental health throughout the game.


Nichols women's head coach MaryLynn Skarzenski brought the idea to the conference after hosting a similar event with her own team last year. While on the recruiting trail, Skarzenski crossed paths with a lot of the league coaches and discovered that mental health is a serious issue in today's world, especially among student-athletes.

"Our student-athletes need to know that we support them no matter what and understand that everyone is different and deals with things differently and at times you may never know that someone has something going on," said Skarzenski.

She pitched the idea to her fellow women's basketball coaches, who immediately jumped on board. The men's teams quickly followed, creating a conference-wide event.

When talking about why it is important to host the event, Skarzenski said, " I know we have great coaches in this conference and a great conference office, so who is better to get the conversation going about mental health in sport at the Division III level than us."


Hope Happens Here, founded in 2015 through the Saint Michael's College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is a student-led movement that aims to promote mental health awareness and mental well-being on college campuses, in particular student-athletes. H3 is starting the conversation to help break the negative stigma that surrounds issues regarding mental health.