Eric Berger
May 31, 2024

Eleven pro-sports leagues team up for mental health PSA

The Rituals We Share campaign seizes on the trend of athletes speaking up about their mental health struggles to help people in need.

In recent years, high-profile athletes have started to open up about their mental health struggles. 

For instance, tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the 2021 French Open, citing her struggle with anxiety and depression. And Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott spoke publicly about his experience with anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic, after his brother’s suicide and mother’s death from colon cancer. 

Now, 11 professional sports leagues, the Huntsman Mental Health Institute and the Ad Council have teamed up to launch a campaign, The Rituals We Share, in which star athletes share the steps they take to care for their mental health.

“There are so many athletes that are talking about mental health, talking about their own struggles or the importance of taking care of yourself,” said Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer of the Ad Council, adding that it felt like the right moment “to bring these partners together to do something quite extraordinary.”

The campaign, launched May 30, comes at the end of the Mental Health Awareness Month and is part of the larger Love, Your Mind campaign from the Ad Council and Huntsman Institute. 

A 90-second PSA shows a mix of stars like Osaka and NBA player Jalen Brunson, as well as lesser-known athletes, preparing to perform, as a narrator asks, “What do you do to perform, to drown out the self-doubt and support your mental health?” and then lists the steps people can take. 

“We were just really fortunate that they brought together a roster of tremendous talent with trusted voices,” Arthur said. “Just seeing the power of the collective in this work speaks volumes to how far we have come in acknowledging that this is something we all have to address.”

The campaign encourages people to visit the Love, Your Mind website, which features guides to help people deal with difficult emotions and trauma, among other issues. 

The agency Walton Isaacson worked pro bono to create the campaign. Nina Meredith of production company Radical Media directed the PSAs, which feature the song “Home” by Good Neighbours.

In addition to running on donated media space, the leagues will share the content for free during games and on their owned and social media channels.


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