Former NFL Player visits Valdosta to raise awareness for mental health
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 pro football player, knows the struggle with suicidal thoughts.
Battle played for the San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys and was also a University of Georgia football player.
“Me overcoming my mental health challenges can be summed up in one word, and its community. I found myself in the position that I was in because I was isolated,” said Battle. “When I took the burden off of me and shared the load. And I think that’s what’s important with anyone experiencing mental health.”
United Way and The Haven raised money at a dinner Thursday night to fight against these issues. The money raised can help with funding for special programs.
The Haven saw a 25% increase in domestic violence incidents in the last year. They’ve also seen a 90% increase in cases that involved stalking and protective orders.
“Thanks to ‘Resilient Georgia’ we have funding to bring mental health awareness and suicide prevention and first responder training into an eight-county area in South Georgia,” said Michael Smith, CEO of United Way Valdosta. “What resources we have, the issues that South Georgia faces with the lack of resources and really the awareness of mental health and our campaign is ‘it’s ok to not be ok.’”
State Senator for the Eighth District 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 aimed to address that. We’re going to require insurance companies to have parody in terms of physical illness and mental illness because that’s part of a person’s well-being,” said Goodman. “More resources into grants to try and help have more mental health professionals across the state and also to get more tools to law enforcement who so often are on the front lines of dealing with people with mental health.”
Goodman said the good work that The Haven and United Way are doing is a strong step forward to protect victims.
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