Inspired by a St. Louis native who lost his son to mental health struggles, CITY SC is launching a new initiative connecting people to local mental health tools and resources
“Tackle the Struggle” comes at the height of the holiday stress season
Club recently hired Director of Mental Performance
St. Louis CITY SC is taking its first steps to connect St. Louisans of all ages to the resources they need to address mental health challenges in their own lives with “Tackle the Struggle,” a new initiative focused on raising awareness of the importance of mental health and well-being.
“Tackle the Struggle centers on action beyond words,” said St. Louis CITY SC’s CEO Carolyn Kindle. “With 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental health condition, we are setting out as a club to help fight the stigma around asking for help and improve access to the tools people need to combat mental health challenges.”
Tackle the Struggle was born during CITY SC’s July 2023 match versus LAFC in Los Angeles. Members of CITY SC had a chance encounter with Brian Taylor, a St. Louis native and LAFC fan who was fully decked out in CITY gear at the match. Brian explained he recently lost his son, Clayton, a CITY SC fan, after Clayton’s long struggle with mental health, and he wears the gear of Clayton’s favorite team in his honor. Inspired to take action, CITY SC launched www.tacklethestruggle.org to share stories like Brain and Clayton’s and connect St. Louisans to local mental health resources. CITY SC will introduce additional Tackle the Struggle-related programs throughout the 2024 season.
“Brian and Clayton’s story puts into perspective how mental health can affect everyone, no matter which team you root for,” said Kindle. “Mental health is bigger than soccer. We want to normalize asking for help and bring awareness to how to get it.”
Tackle the Struggle comes on the heels of CITY SC recently adding Dr. Greg Young to the coaching staff as the club’s first Director of Mental Performance, one of the few positions of its kind in MLS. Dr. Young’s focus is to help players acquire and develop the mental skills needed to not only maximize their performance on the field as elite soccer players, but also to enhance the overall well-being of players dealing with the pressures of everyday life. Dr. Young and his work will be highlighted within Tackle the Struggle this upcoming season.
Holiday Season’s Impact on Mental Health
Tackle the Struggle is introduced as the holiday season kicks into high gear. The American Psychological Association found 38% of people surveyed indicated their stress increased during the holidays, which can potentially lead to physical illness, depression, anxiety and substance misuse. The reasons given include perceived lack of time, financial pressure, gift-giving and family gatherings.
“Local organizations like Provident, PreventEd and NAMI St. Louis provide support to St. Louisans struggling with their mental health during this time of the year, as well as their family members, friends and caregivers,” said Kindle. “These organizations’ impact on our region is immeasurable, and we are eager to highlight the incredible work they are doing with Tackle the Struggle.”
For more information on Tackle the Struggle, visit www.tacklethestruggle.org and use #TackleTheStruggle on social media.