VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) – A former professional NFL football player is in town to help raise awareness of mental health issues.
People from all backgrounds can fall victim to mental health. Tra Battle, former professional football player, knows the struggle with suicidal thoughts.
Battle played for the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys and was also a football player for the University of Georgia.
“I overcame my mental health challenges can be summed up in one word and his community. “I got myself in the position I was in because I was isolated,” Battle said. “When I took the burden off myself and shared the load. And I think that’s what’s important for anyone experiencing mental health.”
United Way and The Haven raised money at a dinner Thursday night to fight these issues. Money raised can help fund special programs.
Haven saw a 25% increase in domestic violence incidents last year. They have also seen a 90% increase in cases involving stalking and protective orders.
“Thanks to ‘Resilient Georgia’ we have funding to bring mental health awareness and suicide prevention and first responder training to an eight-county area in South Georgia,” said Michael Smith, CEO of United Way Valdosta. “What resources do we have, the issues that South Georgia faces with the lack of resources and really mental health awareness and our campaign is ‘it’s okay to not be okay.’
Eighth District State Senator Ruus Goodman said societies are judged by how we treat the weakest among us. He added that the Georgia General Assembly passed a bipartisan bill to address mental health around the state.
“This bill was meant to address that. “We’re going to ask insurance companies to make a parody of physical and mental illness because that’s part of a person’s well-being,” Goodman said. “More resources in grants to try and help get more mental health professionals across the state and also to get more resources for law enforcement, who are so often on the front lines of treating people with mental health.”
Goodman said the good work The Haven and United Way are doing is a strong step forward to protect victims.
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