Sourlis: CEO and Founder of Men’s Mental
“A couple of months after the class ended, I realized that with COVID-19 happening, everyone is at home, everything is shut down, mental health cases are rising, suicide rates are rising and it’s obvious that this issue became more prevalent than ever,”
Teddy Sourlis, a senior on the Babson College Men’s Basketball team, has taken matters into his own hands about a topic close to him; male athletes’ mental health.
Sourlis created and is the CEO and Founder of Men’s Mental, a non-profit organization whose mission is “striving to break down the stigmas behind the MENtal health of all athletes and survivors worldwide.
Men’s Mental has grown to over a 16k following on Instagram and has partnered with multiple mental health organizations. How did it begin? A school project.
How it began
“It was originally a project for a class where I had to create a social media platform, design a logo, make a brand and basically do whatever you wanted for this and find an issue,” said Sourlis. “My issue for the project with a few others was the topic of men’s mental health. We just kind of ran with it and made logos and did all of the things we needed to build a potential brand to be shut down at the end of the class.”
Following the end of the class and the semester, Sourlis decided to continue on the account and grow it.
“A couple of months after the class ended, I realized that with COVID-19 happening, everyone is at home, everything is shut down, mental health cases are rising, suicide rates are rising and it’s obvious that this issue became more prevalent than ever,” said Sourlis. “I realized this could really have a target right now, so I just took it over and went from there.”
On the Instagram account, Sourlis features testimonies and short statements from male college athletes all over the country about their mental health experiences and personal stories.
“I reach out to some athletes who follow the account and basically say if they ever want to share their story that our dm’s are always open,” said Sourlis. “Some athletes reach out to the account first and want to share their story. Some teammates see their own teammates share their stories and want to share theirs after. We also have a survey that people can take to fill out for their testimony.”
Goal of platform
According to Sourlis, the main goal of this platform is to break down barriers and stigmas that surround and cover mental health and especially that of men.
“The biggest thing we face daily as men is that “men don’t cry” or “toughen up” and it’s seen as a weakness if men show any sort of emotion. Especially with the whole toxic masculinity aspect of the locker room environment and it forces us to suppress all of those emotions. It’s not something we really talk about willingly in that environment and that is where I want to make a change and break down that normalized suppression of emotions,” said Sourlis.
Sourlis just recently created the sister account to Men’s mental, Women’s Mental. This account, similar to Men’s Mental, has been created to break down barriers about mental health regarding females.
“While the @mens.mental account is specifically geared towards men, it needs to be acknowledged that we stand together and united with all of our female survivors and athletes. While it is men’s mental, we are here for everybody,” said Sourlis.
Sourlis has a passion for mental health and helping others and that passion is a big reason why he started this Instagram and non-profit organization.
“Mental health is something I have dealt with for about a decade, I am 21 and I wrote my first suicide letter when I was 11,” said Sourlis. “It is obviously personal for me and goes way deeper than just a business.”
Sourlis has dealt with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and more mental health issues most of his life and has been very active in sharing his story to help prevent others from feeling alone.
“My story is kind of difficult. In my senior year of high school, one of my friends committed suicide and I was kind of with him the night before that. That was what really made this issue and suicide so real to me. It was always just a theory beforehand, but to actually have it happen that close to me changed my life,” said Sourlis.
According to Sourlis, he has been working on himself, going to therapy, and focusing more on his passions such as sports and school to help during his struggles.
“My personal goal for this is to make sure nobody ever feels the way I have before,” said Sourlis. “I don’t want anyone to sit in bed at night and feel so alone when that is not the case. I am trying to build a community where everyone feels together for something. I know how that feels to not feel like you have anyone.”
The future for Men’s Mental
As of July 1st, Men’s Mental’s website, https://mensmental.org/, went live as well as the first exclusive merchandise drop for the organization.
“I am partnering with a few mental health organizations to donate the money to from the merch. I plan on doing more drops throughout the summer and having donations come in from there,” said Sourlis.
As for the future of Men’s Mental, Sourlis has big plans for growing the organization and spreading more awareness while raising money to donate to other mental health organizations.
“We have been expanding and are going to start doing events, fundraisers, and things like that to really just promote even more awareness and create even more of a community,” said Sourlis. “One of the biggest plans I have for the next year is to make an event where I can invite coaches, speakers, athletes and make it a gala where people can donate and fundraise and have a head speaker. It would be a big awareness event where everyone would come together as one.
The Future for Sourlis
Sourlis’s goals for the future include continuing to work in sports since he has been in the sports world his entire life, but also mixing it with his passion for entrepreneurship and the business side of sports.
“People look at me and ask me what internship I have this summer going into my senior year like all of my friends. I picked this to be my internship, I’m not actually making money or in the workforce, but I am working for myself, and it has been such an interesting experience for me since I do want to be an entrepreneur. I have a couple of business ventures I want to start and that is my passion to work for myself and do my own thing,” said Sourlis.
Sourlis calls this situation the “best of both worlds” for him since he gets to be in the sports world while also experiencing the business aspect of it all as well.
About Game Plan
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By : Elena ShklyarGame Plan Intern