1st annual You're Not Alone 7on7
KERNERSVILLE, N.C. — Schools across North Carolina held various 7-on-7 camps during the month of June. But, for Glenn High School in Kernersville, the camp was about more than X's and O's. One of football coach Antwon Stevenson's players committed suicide, and Stevenson had to turn his focus to the mental health of his team off the field. "I had to learn in an unfortunate situation that everyone needs to be checked on," he said. "I just want everyone to understand that if you don't want to talk to mom or dad, or if you don't want to talk to coach there is always an outlet, there's always someone you can talk to," Stevenson urged. "And taking your life isn't one of those things that you have to conform to." Stevenson found solace with Northern Guilford Coach Erik Westberg, who lost a player the same way last summer. The two joined up with NFL free agent Doug Middleton to bring awareness to an issue that they've all seen too often. "Having lost my best friend to suicide, that's one of the main reasons I wanted to come shed a light on mental health, and I share in the same grief these parents have," Middleton admitted. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among young adults in 2019. That coupled with personal experience was the main reason for the "You're Not Alone" 7-on-7 showcase to bring awareness to something that hits close to home for Stevenson and others. "We need to get to the point where we normalize being sad and crying and asking for help and telling folks you don't feel good," Stevenson said. "When you're talking about mental health, everyone needs help."