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COMMENTARY: A community focus on mental health

In the high-stakes world of professional sports, it’s easy to focus solely on the physical aspect of the game. But as any athlete will tell you, the mental game is just as crucial, if not more so, to success both on and off the field.

That’s why the Las Vegas Raiders and the Raiders Foundation are proud to champion critical mental health initiatives and resources in our region year-round, and especially during May’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Throughout its history, the Las Vegas community has always faced unique challenges, and while we have persevered, we understand the lasting effects of trauma. We also recognize the significant need for mental health resources in our region.

Nevada recently acknowledged its need for an additional 424 mental health workers and 1,714 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors. We also have one of the lowest ratios of psychologists to residents in the country. A 2023 report by Mental Health America ranked Nevada last in youth access to mental health care and 39th in overall mental health care.

These datapoints underscore the urgent need to increase mental health resources across the Silver State, and our organization is dedicated to contributing to the effort.

Inspired by the Raiders’ legacy of being a force for good in surrounding communities, we are actively involved in initiatives aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental health treatment. We leverage our platform and resources to fund organizations such as the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Opportunity Village and others; raise awareness through social media campaigns; and engage the public through events.

Within the Las Vegas Raiders and the Raiders Foundation, we prioritize the mental well-being of our players, alumni and employees by providing access to comprehensive mental health resources, including confidential, face-to-face counseling services, stress management workshops and targeted support programming through our employee resource groups. Our goal is to ensure that every member of our organization has access to the support they need to thrive, both during their careers and after.

Countless partner organizations and practitioners have stepped up to provide vital mental health services across Nevada. This includes the Resiliency &Justice Center, managed by the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada and staffed by knowledgeable and caring professionals who help people access free and confidential resources for building strength and resiliency after tragedy. Their dedication and compassion inspire us, and we are honored to support their efforts through fundraising and advocacy.

By collaborating, both on the field and in the community, we can break down the stigma surrounding mental health and ensure that everyone has access to the care and support they deserve. We strive to set an example for all in Nevada by openly discussing mental health and investing in resources and support services. In everything we do, our collective aim is to create a culture where everyone feels empowered to prioritize their emotional and mental wellness.

Everyone across our state should have access to the resources they need to do so. The Las Vegas Raiders are committed to using our platform and resources to promote comprehensive health and well-being in our community. Together, we will continue to tackle mental health issues head-on, ensuring everyone in our region can live a fulfilling life.

Mark Davis is owner of the Las Vegas Raiders.

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