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Why So Sad?

This page contains personal accounts discussing mental health, suicide prevention, and related topics.

It is not a crisis resource. If you or someone you know is going through a mental health crisis, please contact your local support line for help and information. You can find an extensive list of services here.

What is "Why So Sad?"

Why So Sad? is an ongoing exploration into the nature of mental health initiated by John Rattray. After losing his sister to suicide and dealing with depression himself, Rattray developed the project starting in 2017.

Why So Sad? is not a charity but rather, a storytelling platform that approaches a serious subject through a lighthearted play on skateboarding’s language. The “Sad Plant” & “Sad Grab” are two tricks adopted as motifs to symbolize the conversation. “I think of it like a shared code,” Rattray has said. The mission of the project is to invite conversation. It simply asks that—as well as skating or riding— we also take some time to stop talk, listen, read & learn about this subject.

"I can’t count all the times I’ve heard, “skateboarding saved my life”, or “skateboarding’s my escape” Rattray says. “My point is, that’s great! Now, let’s explore that all-important follow-up question, “What has it saved you from?”, “What are you escaping from?"

Why So Sad?

Why So Sad? written by John Rattray with illustrations by Jon Horner.

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John Rattray' Story

I’d suffered episodes of depression multiple times throughout my life but never knew what they were. Twice I got all the way to suicidal ideation. The second time, I was finally diagnosed with, “depression”, and so, I finally had a concrete term to investigate. I was 39 and it was like, why has it taken this long to be told this?

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Chris Jones's Story

My relationship with my dad before I went to university was quite complicated. He was struggling and drinking a lot. There were periods when he could go in on me and my brother. He'd say things that tapped into my insecurities: "You're not going to amount to anything. You're stupid." My university experience, in some ways, was a way to fight through childhood experiences of feeling stupid and almost proving I wasn't.

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All In It Together

Learn more about challenges the SB team and friends have lived through and how they manage through the waves...

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The Work We Support

Through our Community Impact groups, Nike & Converse support several organizations relevant to the spirit and ethos of the Why So Sad? project.

The Ben Raemers Foundation

Founded to maintain the legacy of professional skateboarder, Ben Raemers who took his own life in 2019, The Ben Raemers Foundation aims to enable the skateboarding community to develop the skills and tools needed to support each other to understand and address mental health.

Skate Like a Girl

Skate Like a Girl was founded to create an inclusive community by promoting confidence, leadership, and social justice through skateboarding by empowering skaters, especially young women and/or trans people, to grow into strong, confident leaders who promote and implement social equity. Skate Like a Girl values experiential learning and civic participation, by providing opportunities to be involved in the skateboarding community.

CHJS - The Center for Healing and Justice through Sport

CHJS works to ensure more young people have access to sport experiences that are youth-centered, healing-centered, inclusive, and work to address issues of systemic injustice.

Gurls Talk

Gurls Talk was formed in 2015 by Adwoa Aboah with the goal of creating safe spaces for gurls to share their experiences and access mental health resources. The community-led non-profit has continued to promote mental health for young women by partnering with academic institutions and experts in an effort to destigmatize mental health conversations through an active, supportive, welcoming, and empowering community.

Crisis Text Line |

Crisis Text Line, a Nike nonprofit partner, provides free, 24/7, high-quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention by empowering a community of trained volunteers to support people in their moments of need. At any time, texters in the U.S. can connect with volunteer Crisis Counselors by texting the word STRONG to 741741.

The Harold Hunter Foundation

The Harold Hunter Foundation (HHF) grassroots skateboarding-based non-profit, community-based organization that provides support, opportunity, and advocacy for skateboarders in NYC so they can reach their full potential as skateboarders and as people. HHF programming leverages credible messengers and uses skateboarding as a vehicle to provide underserved youth with valuable life experiences that nurture creativity, resourcefulness, and the development of life skills.

Further Learning: Recommendations from the Team

Books:

What Happened To You? By Bruce Perry & Oprah Winfrey

Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Waking Up, Alive by Richard Heckler

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins

Podcasts:

NIKE - NO OFF SEASON:

- Karl-Anthony Towns

- Laurie Hernandez

- Raven Saunders

- Marko Cheseto

- Tatyana McFadden

- Logan Edra

- Megan Bartlett

- Blake Leeper

- Michelle Wie West

ANDREW HUBERMAN:

- Therapy, Trauma & Growth

- Social Connection & Bonding

- Healing from Grief

- Master Stress

- Alcohol & Your Health

Videos:

SMiLe: Series by The Ben Raemers Foundation

NM Network Stress & Trauma Series 2020 - Dr Bruce Perry

Courses:

MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID:

- US: National Council for Mental Wellbeing

- UK: Scottish Association for Mental Health

- Int'l: Mental Health First Aid International

Livingworks ASIST

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