Katie’s Save and the Sarah Shulze Foundation, two organizations that advocate for the mental health and well-being of athletes, are teaming up to present “Together for Mental Health” on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.
The event is free and will offer information about mental health as well as tools for how to psychologically care for others, especially athletes.
“The community has come together,” Liz Pieri, communications specialist for “Together for Mental Health,” said. “You definitely have a community of families here who are very invested in their children and their schools. When these tragedies happen, we really band together.”
Katie’s Save was formed after Katie Meyer, a standout Newbury Park High soccer player, died by suicide in 2022. Meyer played soccer for Stanford and was part of the 2019 NCAA championship team as well as a captain for her last two seasons with the team.
Sarah Shulze was a long distance runner for Oak Park High and the Daily News girls cross country runner of the Year in 2018. She went on to run for the University of Wisconsin and competed in several Big 10 Championships. She died by suicide in 2022.
“Each held tremendous promise and unfortunately took their own lives,” Pieri said. “These two moms have gotten to know each other and over coffee came up with this idea of, ‘Gosh, wouldn’t it be great if we could reach out to the community and give our young people some tools and perspective about managing their own mental health?’ ”
Doors open at 6 p.m. for “Together for Mental Health,” which will be hosted by ESPN college basketball analyst Sean Farnham. Victoria Garrick Browne, a former USC volleyball player, will serve as the keynote speaker. Browne overcame depression and anxiety as a student-athlete and is the founder and CEO of The Hidden Opponent, a mental health non-profit.
Dr. Carrie Hastings, a psychologist for the Los Angeles Rams and Angel City FC, will also speak, and Conejo Valley-based psychiatrist Alan Luddington will be on hand for a presentation.
“(Katie’s Save and the Sarah Shulze Foundation) have been welcomed at all of these campuses,” Pieri said. “They’ve seen teams, whether it’s the boys lacrosse team or girls soccer teams across the Conejo Valley take time to sit with the Meyers and sit with the Shulze family and hear their story and wear green ribbons to make mental health a priority.”
An estimated 500 people have already RSVP’d for the event. Walk-ins are welcome, and interested guests can RSVP at https://togetherformentalhealth.rsvpify.com/?securityToken.