Three months ago, Stanford’s women’s soccer goalkeeper Katie Meyer took her own life in the midst of a mental health crisis. Following her passing, her parents, Steve and Gina Meyer have proposed a university policy designed to encourage an open discussion about mental health.
“Katie’s Save” is a program that gives students the opportunity to notify a trusted advocate via email if they are going through unfortunate circumstances. Possible circumstances include but are not limited to mental health, injury, substance abuse, and academic struggles. Katie’s parents believe that if their daughter was given this program as an option, she might still be here today.
“When [things get difficult], sometimes [college-aged students] think they can adult and they think they can handle it, but sometimes they can’t,” said Gina Meyer, according to ESPN. “They may need extra support from someone, someone checking in on them, someone saying, ‘Hey, can I help you with this? What can we do? How can I help you?'”
When discussing the death of their daughter, the Meyers noted that Katie was handling a disciplinary issue for 6 months, of which neither of them was aware. With this being said, Gina and Steve hope that giving other students the opportunity to talk about something like a disciplinary issue rather than hiding it will promote a sense of ease for young adults.
Gina explained, “We feel like had we known, or even her coach, or even if someone had known what was going on, they might have been able to help her through this and give her some extra support.”
Katie Meyer’s ‘Katie’s Save’ policy will provide an extra safety valve, according to NCAA chief medical officer
Although the policy applies to more than just student-athletes, the Meyers believed that the opinion of NCAA chief medical officer Brian Hainline was important, considering Katie’s background as a soccer player. And, Hainline shared that the more resources students have for mental health, the better.
“’Katie’s Save’ is really an attempt at providing a safety valve for when someone may be in a crisis or there may be a particular danger point or vulnerability point,” he said. “It’s trying to put at the front end a safety valve by working with things that normally are protected by either HIPAA or FERPA. What I did was connect them with groups that I think can really look at this and to help socialize it.”
Although some argue that installing this policy across universities will not be helpful, as many students are legally adults and have autonomy over the care they can receive, Gina Meyer argued that the more safety nets, the better.
“There’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of box,” she commented. “Everyone has a different story, a different situation, but the more resources, the more safety nets, the more support that we offer these kids, hopefully we can start making some real changes.”
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