In early March, Stanford Women’s Soccer Goalie Katie Meyer died by suicide, sparking a nationwide conversation on mental health, specifically that of student-athletes.
Meyer was a star goalie for Stanford, and she helped lead her team to the NCAA Championships in 2019. The accomplished senior was an international relations major with a minor in history. The Newbury Park, California native was also the captain of the soccer team and an RA on campus.
The tragic situation highlighted some unique struggles student-athletes face on a daily basis. Between schoolwork, athletics, maintaining a social life and getting enough rest to recover, the life of a student-athlete brings about many difficult stressors. Speaking to the Today Show, Meyer’s mother Gina added, “There is anxiety, and there is stress to be perfect, to be the best, to be No. 1.” The stigma surrounding mental health in the sports world has begun to become more widely addressed, with athletes such as Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and more all speaking out to discuss the mental toll that athletes at such high levels face. Although much progress has been made, there is still more work to be done for athletes to get the support they need to feel their best and be mentally healthy.
It has also shed light on the mental health situation for students at Stanford, which has seen four such incidents in the past thirteen months, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This has raised questions about the university’s handling of the situation and the role schools can play in impacting students’ mental health.
In response to the tragic event, the school said, “Our entire community is devastated by Katie’s death, and we share our deepest condolences with Katie’s family and everyone who knew her at Stanford, across the country and around the world. Katie touched so many lives. We are not able to share information about confidential student disciplinary matters. We as a university community continue to grieve with Katie’s family and cherish our memories of her.”
For Hope College students, a positive resource to reach out to is CAPS. CAPS has a 24-hour hotline, which students can call at (616) 395-7945, and appointments can also be scheduled during the business day with in-person and online availability, all of which are free of charge to students. Students can also send in request forms to check in on a friend who has been struggling, which can be done anonymously.