Advocacy Day Archives - Athletes for Hope

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Athletes for Hope Hosts Inaugural Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. –  On the morning of Wednesday, May 31st, 2023, Athletes for Hope (AFH) hosted its first Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day at the U.S. Capitol. In a day full of emotional stories and successful championing of U.S. legislators, AFH moved further towards its goal of helping establish a National Athlete Mental Health Bill of Rights. 

As AFH Board Chair Mark Levinstein and AFH CEO Jason Belinkie stood before a room full of athlete mental health organization leaders, the united mission to support legislation that advocates athlete mental health took many steps forward. 

Williams and Connolly, LLC generously hosted a morning breakfast and briefing that began at 9 a.m. where many organizations were in attendance.

To begin the day, Morgan’s Message’s Dona and Kurt Rodgers, Hilsinki’s Hope’s Mark and Kym Hilinski, Awvee Storey, Andrea Kalochristianikas and Rawle Andrews Jr. headlined a series of testimonies that shared each person’s connection to the athlete mental health space. 

Whether it was heartfelt stories about family and friends suffering from mental health problems, loved ones lost, or sharing an appreciation for AFH’s Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day, the breakfast ended with more relationships formed and the coalition only growing. 

“We were so thrilled to bring together this incredible group of athletes, advocates, parents, and partners for our first athlete mental health advocacy day,” said AFH Chief Wellbeing Officer Suzanne Potts. “This kickoff meeting is an exciting opportunity to learn from experts in this space and lead our athlete networks towards greater mental health advocacy opportunities.”

AFH would also like to thank The Hidden Opponent, Tackle What’s Next, Mindz Matter, Enough Suffering in Silence, the Bipartisan Policy Center, Alliance of Social Workers in Sports, The Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport, Grassroots Health and Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative for attending. 

After the morning brief, AFH Director of Development Diana Venezia, Suzanne Potts, and Jason Belinkie led several groups to the U.S. Capitol and surrounding buildings for discussions and conversations with congressmen and their various staff. 

The groups met with the staff of many Senators and Representatives including Representative Jamie Raskin, Senator John Cornyn, Representative Colin Allred, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and several others. 

The discussions spanned from a breakdown of what AFH and the other organizations’ goals are in terms of helping establish legislation as well as an overview of how politicians can help athlete mental health as a whole.

The staffers were receptive to the potential of an Athlete Mental Health Bill of Rights and opened the doors to future collaboration between AFH and Capitol Hill. 

The day ended with a group photograph and debrief in front of the U.S. Capitol where the groups shared their conversations and what can be done to help improve the awareness spreading in the future. 

As preparations begin for the next Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day, AFH invites parties to join the coalition for upcoming Advocacy Days. 

AFH News

Athletes for Hope Announces Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day


WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 31st, 2023, Athletes for Hope (AFH) is hosting an Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day at the U.S. Capitol from 9 am ET to 12 pm ET. 

AFH has been working with athletes of all backgrounds and levels as well as leading mental health organizations to bring greater awareness around athlete mental health and to develop a clear ask of legislators: support legislation that advocates athlete mental health. 

Elite athletes are thought to be more resilient than the average person, however only 10% of athletes are seeking psychological assistance and approximately 35% of elite athletes report suffering from disordered eating, burnout, depression, and/or anxiety. This Advocacy Day is a representation of the early stages of AFH’s growing coalition of advocates who are working to build out and recruit lawmakers for multistate legislation on Athlete Mental Health. 

Joining AFH and some of the organizations’ Whole Being Athlete Ambassadors on the steps of Capitol Hil include: Hilinski’s Hope, The Hidden Opponent (and affiliated athletes), Tackle What’s Next, Alliance of Social Workers in Sport (ASWIS), Philadelphia Youth Sport Collaborative, Mindz Matter, The Center for Healing and Justice Through Sport, Morgan’s Message, Bipartisan Policy Center, Enough Suffering in Silence, Timberlake Enterprises, Athlete Empowerment Initiative, George Washington Sports Philanthropy Certificate Program, and a handful of former and current collegiate, Olympic, Paralympic and professional athletes.  

“Athlete mental health is at the center of all that we do at Athletes for Hope. As we continue to meet with athletes and our partners, it is clear that legislation is needed to ensure athletes at all levels are given the support they need,” said AFH Chief Wellbeing Officer Suzanne Potts, LMPW, MPH. “We are excited to spend the day at the Capitol championing athlete mental health.”

The day will begin with a briefing breakfast, kindly hosted by Williams and Connolly, LLC and it will end at the Capitol for scheduled meetings with legislators and legislators’ staff. A group photo will take place at noon in front of the Capitol.

Ultimately, AFH is working towards a specific athlete-centered legislation: a National Athlete Mental Health Bill of Rights. 

As they build out their coalition, AFH invites any interested parties to reach out through their website:

For media inquiries, please contact: Kylie Reeves (, 919-593-7975)


About Athletes for Hope

Founded by Muhammad Ali, Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm, and nine other elite athletes in 2006, Athletes for Hope (AFH) is a cause-neutral non-profit that educates, encourages, and empowers athletes to find their passions and use their time to positively engage with their communities. Over the past 16 years, AFH has educated more than 12,000 professional, Olympic, Paralympic, and collegiate athletes through its Causeway workshop series, and helped athletes volunteer with hundreds of underserved schools and impactful community organizations through core programs that focus on helping underserved children become more physically active, changing the public stigma around mental health, and brightening the lives of children in hospitals. Through their dedication and passion for doing good, AFH athletes have positively impacted the lives of millions around the world.