Professional wrestlers from across the industry are joining together to make a statement about mental health.
Designed to help normalize conversation about mental health, the new “Tag Me In” initiative is a heart-filled endeavor reminding people that support is readily available. “Tag Me In” even has its own PSA, featuring a plethora of wrestlers that includes Trish Stratus, Chris Jericho, Mick Foley, Kurt Angle, Amy “Lita” Dumas, Psycho Clown, Gail Kim and Lilian Garcia.
“We’re here to open up the conversation,” says Stratus, a seven-time WWE women’s champion. “This is a place of comfort and a place to feel safe, and it’s so nice to have someone else who can relate.”
Stratus spoke about “Tag Me In” with Lilian Garcia, who was her travel partner for seven years in WWE. They would confide in one another during their time together on the road, celebrating each other’s success while also providing a source of comfort during difficult times.
“Our Monday night drives were cathartic and so meaningful for my mental health,” Stratus says. “Having someone support and understand you, that is so important. It helps you realize you’re not alone, and that’s what Lilian did for me.
“It’s O.K. to realize you’re not perfect. It’s O.K. to feel crappy about something. And it’s wonderful to be able to share it with someone. That was vital for us.”
Garcia fondly recalls her time on the road with Stratus. They traveled the globe together, but what resonated most with her was the way Stratus would listen and support her with such friendship and care.
“We trusted each other and were vulnerable with one another,” Garcia says. “That time was so special, and extremely helpful for my mental health. She was able to reel me in and help me. So I know how important this is, and I’m over the moon to be part of ‘Tag Me In.’
“Let’s help people not feel alone anymore. It’s important to speak about mental health and the challenges we’re facing. It’s time we normalize the conversation. It’s time people stopped feeling so isolated.”
This week marks Mental Illness Awareness Week, as established by National Alliance on Mental Illness, but “Tag Me In” plans to keep the conversation open and ongoing well into the future.
“Tag Me In” T-shirts are also available on Pro Wrestling Tees through Oct. 31. The proceeds will be donated to NAMI.
“We want to tag in everyone,” Garcia says. “The pandemic has turned the world upside down, but I try to find a silver lining in everything. And the silver lining here is that it’s time to come together. That’s how we heal. So let’s make this a way to extend our hand and tag people in. All of us are going through life for the very first time, so let’s lean on each other to get through it.
“And the great thing about this is you can pick your extended family. Trish isn’t blood, but she’s my sister. Even if you don’t have close family members, you can choose your extended family, and that is great to your mental health.”
A primary goal of “Tag Me In” is to empower people by advocating for themselves and providing support to others, and an integral part of that is normalizing the conversation around mental health.
“It’s time to end the stigma behind asking for help,” Stratus says. “We’re all people experiencing these feelings. It’s so nice to have someone else relate.”
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Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.