For Immediate Release: November 22, 2022

Grace Rogers

KANSAS CITY, MO. (November 22, 2022)—The Kansas City Current and founding partner Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) are proud to unveil their new initiative, “Sideline the Stigma,” to raise awareness for mental health. This effort focuses on promoting actionable and practical resources to remove the stigma surrounding mental health and giving support to all Kansas Citians.

Sideline the Stigma kicked off on Saturday with an event, in partnership with Synergy Services, where youth participated in various workshops with KC Current defender Jenna Winebrenner about movement, music, art, and conversation about mental health. In addition, players Mallory Weber and Addisyn Merrick joined a panel of experts and former athletes to talk about removing the stigma around mental health challenges.

“Blue KC is a perfect partner for us given a shared vision and an unwavering commitment to the Kansas City community,” said Chris Long, co-owner of the Kansas City Current. “We are excited to embark on this important initiative together where our teams can work to not only lessen the stigma around mental health issues, but also ultimately help every Kansas Citian find the resources they may need. Supporting our community and anyone facing these struggles is imperative to the health of our metro.”

Mental health continues to be a major focus for the Kansas City Current. Earlier this year, members of the organization’s leadership team underwent Mental Health First Aid® certification training, presented by Blue KC and the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Mental Health First Aid® is the initial help offered to a person developing a mental health or substance use challenge or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment and support are received or until the crisis resolves.

The team has also worked with other local organizations, including Zero Reasons Why, a storytelling and community mobilization campaign to remove the stigma of mental health and prevent teen suicide.

“At Blue KC, we are committed to elevating awareness surrounding mental health. Our partnership with the KC Current is an opportunity to carve a new path for inclusive health and wellness where mental health is as important as physical health,” said Christina Lively, Blue KC Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. “Together, we can help children, teens and adults in our community learn how to talk about mental health, recognize when they or others need help and help guide them to tools and resources they need to access care.”

Kansascitycurrent.com/sidelinethestigma includes access to Mental Health First Aid® training opportunities, mental health statistics and contact information for local and national crisis lines. The Kansas City Current and Blue KC plan to activate other mental health resources and programming during the 2023 season.

Watch a video highlighting the event.

About the Kansas City Current
Founded in December 2020, the Kansas City Current is led by the ownership group of Angie Long, Chris Long and Brittany Mahomes. The team competes in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The Kansas City Current announced plans for the first stadium purpose-built for a professional women’s soccer team with expected completion in 2024. To receive periodic updates on the new Kansas City Current Stadium at Berkley Riverfront Park, visit here to sign-up for more information or to stay connected.

About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the largest not-for-profit health insurer in Missouri and the only not-for-profit commercial health insurer in Kansas City, has been part of the Kansas City community since 1938. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City provides health coverage services to more than one million residents in the greater Kansas City area, including Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas and 30 counties in Northwest Missouri. Our mission: to provide affordable access to healthcare and to improve the health of our members. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information on the company, visit its website at BlueKC.com.

About Synergy Services
Synergy Services provides a full continuum of care to assist individuals and families with immediate respite from violence, and services which empower clients to find and choose good options for future safety and success. In addition to our work to treat the effects of violence, we provide supportive services to families in crisis in an effort to prevent violence. Additionally, we focus on community education and social change in an effort to build a safer and more humane society. Our fully integrated programs include crisis hotlines, emergency shelter, transitional housing, therapeutic services, advocacy, mentoring and violence prevention programs throughout Greater Kansas City, serving of 21,000 Individuals annually.