BC2M club hosts eighth annual ‘Stick It To Stigma’ event


Senior girls varsity lacrosse attacker Skylar Burnett runs past boys varsity players during the Bring Change to Mind Club’s annual “Stick It To Stigma” event after school Friday on the Palo Alto High School Lacrosse Field. The event consisted of a friendly game between the girl’s and boy’s lacrosse team to help further prompt mental health transparency in the athletic community. According to Bring Change to Mind Club president and junior Ella Bishop, promoting values like those in Stick It To Stigma are a central part of the club’s mission. ”We strive to build a safe community so all of our regular club members feel comfortable sharing and comfortable learning in a space,” Bishop said. “I think what’s happening here is learning new skills, or learning more about mental health and stuff you didn’t know about.” (Photo: Benjamin Grimes)

As part of their goal to spread awareness about mental health in sports and outside the classroom, the Bring Change to Mind club members are urging athletes to prioritize self-care and well-being following the club’s annual “Stick It To Stigma” boys vs girls lacrosse game after school Friday on the Lacrosse Field.

Stick It To Stigma, an eight-year Palo Alto High School tradition, is an event where the girls varsity lacrosse team plays against the boys team in a standard lacrosse game. According to Bring Change to Mind president and junior Ella Bishop, since boys and girls lacrosse have different sets of rules, the guidelines for the mixed game are flexible. 

Bishop, who is also a member of the girls Varsity lacrosse team, said the primary goal of the event is to combat the stigma surrounding mental health issues. 

“The main goal here is definitely just community building in athletics, which can be isolating when you get down on yourself after a tough game or tough practice,” Bishop said. “We want to create relationships that allow people to feel comfortable to reach out to teammates or people across teams.”

Bishop opened the event by giving a speech explaining the importance of the message to players on both teams.

“There are pressures from society and other mental illnesses — that is why it’s so important [having the event] now,” Bishop said. “Today we’re all out here meeting each other … so we all feel comfortable to reach outside in a time of need.”

Players on both teams were subbed in regularly to the game, creating a fair amount of playing time for everyone willing to participate. According to senior attacker Divya Mathur, her team has been eagerly anticipating this game. 

“I’m pumped for the game,” Mathur said. “I think my entire team has been looking forward to this for the whole season. I know that this game is the highlight for the whole team, so we’re all really excited.” 

According to boys head coach Ed Hattler, events like these are a great way to raise awareness for mental health and bring people closer together. 

“Mental health has been a growing problem, especially with COVID-19,” Hattler said. “There’s just a lot of psychological illness problems students can develop in their teenage years. Athletics are a good forum for reducing mental health problems, and exercise is probably the number one thing that people can do to help with mental health problems.”

Senior midfielder Will Barney said the environment of the game is unique for players on both teams.

“I’m really excited to have some friendly competition with the girls lacrosse team,” Barney said. “It’ll be a really nice opportunity to see how the girls lacrosse game plays differently and how that kind of dynamic works compared to the boys lacrosse that I’ve known.”

Hattler said students should realize that they are not alone in their struggles.

“It’s common for people to have issues during high school,” Hattler said. “Reach out to your community, reach out to your friends, talk to a friend, talk to somebody, and know you’re not alone.”