All Sports Tucson believes strongly in the Pima County Health Department’s new initiative that addresses the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and other societal factors on students of all ages and faculty.
The initiative created by the Pima County Health Department is called “Not Alone” in recognition of its central message to young people struggling with their mental health. All Sports Tucson, which focuses most of its coverage on youth and high school sports, and the PCHD want to stress that kids and young adults are not alone.
The Pima County Library’s Health Action Team, a youth-led group consisting of 15 interns, provided a focus group to give feedback to the project designers as they were developing the “Not Alone” program.
Not Alone can provide free individual counseling sessions through COPE Community Services, Inc. Recipients may also attend skill-building groups. Additionally, Not Alone is partnering with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, which provides peer-to-peer support through its Be There certificate program.
“Recent data being released about youth mental health is alarming,” said project director Matthew Schmidgall. “Suicide remains the third leading cause of death for adolescents, and one-in-three high school students recently reported that their mental health was not good. The Not Alone campaign was designed with these concerns in mind and aims to connect young people to the resources they need.”
Arizona senior softball captain Izzy Pacho recently wrote about the “life of a student-athlete” in her column series at All Sports Tucsons called “Izzy’s POV.” In the column, she writes about the struggles student-athletes go through, and the pressure they place on themselves, “which usually turns into performance anxiety and stress.”
“Mental health is a huge topic for us athletes and it is one of the most important things I have learned how to deal with,” Pacho writes. “My freshman year I thought nobody else cared about me and I was just trying to get through every day. Taking care of ourselves has become normal, so we have the resources to help us through anything we need.”
Pacho, a native Tucsonan, has a line of t-shirts that have the sayings “Homegrown: Izzy Pacho” and “You Are Enough” on the front and the back.
She writes that “You Are Enough” is something that she tells herself every day.
“I struggled when I first got to college and felt like who I was and what I was doing wasn’t enough,” she writes. “It took me a long time to find myself and love myself for who I am. I want to spread that love for my city and for each other. No matter who you are or what you are doing, you are enough.”
More information about the Pima County Health Department’s “Not Alone” campaign, including the link to sign up for services, can be found at https://pimahelpline.org/notalone/