Former student-athlete Ivy Watts, who has struggled with anxiety, self-love and depression herself, is scheduled to speak virtually at 8 p.m., October 19, to JWU students and staff about mental health and stability. Watts, who has an undergraduate degree in psychology from University of New Haven and a master's degree in public health from Boston University has reached more than 9,000 students and 3,000 administrators and parents through her presentations.
JWU Director of Athletics Dana Garfield explains, "Ivy's message of self-love and empowerment is truly impactful and we hope this message will give strength and support to students dealing with similar issues."
The importance of mental health sometimes gets overlooked, and Watts connects with students and staff to remind them that they're not alone. She states, "I was a college athlete and had no idea who I was beyond that. Then I came crashing down. It's difficult, because your whole life you are cheered on because you are so good at sports. But that doesn't have to define you as a person." Being a student-athlete while also trying to have some sort of social life isn't easy, Watts contends. In fact, in 2018 she created a blog named "Beautifully Simply You" to start the conversation about mental health struggles.
The coronavirus has been a downside to many events worldwide for the past seven to eight months. Although Watts isn't able to physically be present to talk to students and staff, her impact on the JWU community will nevertheless be felt. Garfield says, "The department is excited to have Ivy Watts speak with our athletes about the important topic of mental health. Although we are disappointed that we are unable to have Ivy meet with our athletes in person, the virtual nature of her presentation allows the opportunity to share this important message with the greater JWU community."
Tickets to the event are limited and are still available on JWU Link.