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OU and OSU Quarterbacks Unite to Tackle Mental Health Stigma Ahead of the Bedlam Game

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

In a powerful match-up promoting mental health, student-athletes Dillon Gabriel from the University of Oklahoma (OU) and Alan Bowman from Oklahoma State University (OSU) have joined forces with the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline. Together, they are on a mission to address the urgent mental health concerns facing all Oklahomans, especially college students.

Ahead of Bedlam, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services is reaching out to young adults to connect them to care. Among college students, 44% have at least one symptom of depression and one in five Oklahomans experience mental illness. These statistics are a stark reminder to prioritize mental well-being for student-athletes like Dillon Gabriel, Alan Bowman, and the entire college-aged community. The partnership between the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline and these college quarterbacks is crucial to addressing these numbers and providing essential support for individuals facing mental health struggles.

Dillon Gabriel, quarterback for the University of Oklahoma, has emerged as an advocate for mental health, sharing his journey with 988 Oklahoma in a video PSA. He highlights mental health’s indispensable role in student athletes’ lives and how addressing his emotions helped him recover from a significant injury. Gabriel’s narrative focuses on the importance of 988 Oklahoma and the available mental health resources for everyone.

"Having 988 is a great resource. It's something that's so easy - three digits call or text. It's something that should be useful and helpful," said Dillon Gabriel.

Oklahoma State University (OSU) quarterback Alan Bowman has consistently prioritized mental well-being. Despite the pressures of life as a Division I student athlete, Bowman has found solace in daily meditation. Bowman's openness about his commitment to mindfulness is an inspirational example for his peers and fans, highlighting the importance of placing mental health at the forefront in high-stress environments. His compelling story is featured in a public service announcement broadcast at OSU football games throughout the 2023 season, reinforcing that mental health is a priority for everyone in the community.

"If people are dealing with things that maybe they don't feel comfortable talking with friends or family about and there's something that really is on their mind that's eating them up, 988 is always there to help," shared Alan Bowman.

"Mental health matters, and it is important to encourage students to prioritize their well-being," ODMHSAS Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges said. "We are dedicated to empowering young adults to prioritize their mental health. During the difficult transition to adulthood, we want them to be aware of the resources available to them. Seeing these real-life superheroes advocate for mental health resources will surely empower others to reach out, too."

As influential figures in the college sports community, Gabriel and Bowman use their platforms to foster open conversations about mental health. Their willingness to share their challenges provides hope for those silently struggling. By teaming up with 988 Oklahoma, they underscore the importance of mental health and available resources. Everyone can cheer on mental health regardless of the team you root for.

For more information about mental health resources and the 988 Oklahoma Mental Health Lifeline campaign, please visit 988oklahoma.com. To see both quarterback PSAs, visit youtube.com/988okla.com.

Link to poster: Hope doesn’t have to be a Hail Mary.

Link to videos for use: (These versions do not have music)
Alan
Dillon

Bonnie Campo

Sr. Director of Public Relations

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