'Breaking the stigma' - Ward Melville HS hires coach to help student athletes with mental health
Ward Melville High School has hired its first mental health and performance coach to help student athletes dealing with stress.
Leah Jantzen says her goal is to help break the stigma of asking for help with mental health issues.
"The stigma of mental health and asking for help for athletes is an issue because what is an athlete? Tough. And what is asking for help? That is a weakness, and we need to do something about that," Jantzen says. "That it's OK to not be OK. It's OK to ask for help."
Jantzen meets on a regular basis with the school's 35 varsity teams - pushing themes of empowerment, positive mindset and team building.
Students say Jantzen's work in improving their well-being is making a difference for them both on and off the field.
"The biggest thing I took away this year so far from her was just whatever happened, and you can't change it, so you just have to look forward to the next play," says Ward Melville High School varsity baseball player Thomas Ruehle.
Jantzen says she is planning to expand her program to include junior varsity teams in the next school year.