The New York Jets may not be at the top of the NFL standings this season, but they’re certainly leading the charge when it comes to mental health advocacy.
Multiple Jets players sported lime green cleats for Project 375, a mental health organization founded by Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall, during Monday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts. The show of support was part of a broader NFL initiative that allows players to support charities through footwear, My Cause My Cleats.
The cleats featured the Project 375 logo and the hashtag #MindOverMatter, which Marshall uses regularly on social media as a way to speak out about mental health.
He hopes the shoes “free our world from the stigma that handcuffs us from helping those suffering,” he wrote on Instagram.
An estimated one in five adults in the U.S. will experience a mental health issue in a given year. However, despite the fact they’re so common, there’s still a negative stereotype surrounding the conditions.
The idea still persists that mental illness is something to joke about ― and it’s this viewpoint that often prevents those at risk from seeking professional treatment. And it’s stigma that’s exactly why public advocacy matters: Experts say celebrity awareness can help shatter some of those damaging misconceptions.
Marshall has been giving mental health a national platform for the past few years. After being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, he started Project 375 as a way to help those experiencing a mental health condition. He’s also given speeches and helped design other sportswear to support the cause.
“We need to accept that mental illness is a disease — and like any other disease, it needs stronger research, early screening and treatment, especially for young people,” Marshall wrote in a Huffington Post piece in 2015. “We need more robust education in schools, the enlightened support of news and entertainment media, and the advocacy of high-profile figures, like myself, willing to step forward.”
Props to the NFL star for giving mental health the visibility it deserves. And stylishly, we might add.