RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Felician University department of athletics, in partnership with the University's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Office of Counseling Services, will sponsor its inaugural Mental Health Awareness Night when the Golden Falcons' women's and men's basketball teams host Nyack College on Wednesday, January 30, at Job Gymnasium.
The night's activities are part of a new initiative from the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) titled "Talk About It." The CACC, of which Felician and Nyack are both members, has designated the period from January 30 to February 9 to promote mental health awareness among its student-athletes.
"The Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference and its member institutions aim to foster an environment where student-athletes look out for the health and well-being of themselves and their teammates," reads one of the league's promotional announcements. "Communicate. Be Aware. Show Compassion. Be a Champion for each other."
Fans attending the basketball games on Jan. 30 are encouraged to wear green. Felician fans should show their support by donning the Golden Falcons' traditional hunter green gear, while Warrior or neutral attendees are encouraged to wear lime green, the official color of the mental health awareness ribbon.
Wednesday's women's basketball game will start at 5:30 p.m. and will be sponsored by Felician's SAAC. Felician Counseling Services will sponsor the men's game between Nyack and Felician which will follow at 8 p.m. Each game will feature fun events such as a T-shirt toss and a halftime contest interspersed with public address announcements regarding mental health facts and resources.
Admission is free for each game for members of the Felician community with proper identification. Tickets are otherwise $5 for adults and $2 for students, children and senior citizens. One ticket is good for both contests.
"Many college students fight inner demons," said Felician senior woman athletics administrator Kori Washington. "We hope this event will help such individuals find strength to "Talk About It" through love, confidence, and internal and external support. By opening up, young adults can realize they are not alone."
According to MentalHealth.gov, half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person is 14 years old, and three quarters begin before age 24. Fewer than 20 percent of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need, says the site. But friends and family can be important positive influences, by treating the person with respect and letting the person know they are available to help, along with pointing out other resources.
Felician plays its home basketball games at Job Gymnasium on its Rutherford campus. More information is available by contacting the department of athletics at (201) 559-3333 or WashingtonK@felician.edu.
Felician University, the Franciscan University of New Jersey, is a liberal arts, coeducational Catholic university founded in 1942 and sponsored by the Felician Sisters. True to its mission, Felician University welcomes a diverse student population and embraces its educational needs. With campuses in Lodi and Rutherford, New Jersey, Felician University currently enrolls more than 2,000 students and offers more than 55 undergraduate and graduate programs, in the classroom and online, in the arts and sciences, business and management sciences, health sciences and teacher education. Felician University also sponsors 14 varsity intercollegiate sports that compete at the NCAA Division II level.