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Colts 'Kicking the Stigma' behind mental health by spreading awareness, raising funds

The Colts most recently donated $650,000 to 'One Mind.'
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Posted at 5:58 PM, Jan 04, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-04 17:59:56-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Talking about mental health can be a challenge, especially with the stigma society has placed on it.

But the Indianapolis Colts are doing what they can to "kick" the stigma.

"It impacts all of us and our goal is to make it an everyday conversation. How are you feeling and accepting that it's okay to not be okay," Brett Kramer, director of the Kicking the Stigma Campaign, said.

Kicking the Stigma started in 2020 to raise awareness about mental health and aims to end the stigma associated with mental health disorders.

The effort raises and distributes funding to nonprofits and organizations to extend mental health treatment and research.

The Colts have used Action Grants and personal donations by the Irsay’s to donate more than $25 million to various strategic efforts.

Most recently, the Colts announced Kicking the Stigma will donate $650,000 to One Mind, a leading national brain health nonprofit, to support three research and development initiatives, including the One Mind Rising Star Awards, One Mind Accelerator and One Mind at Work.

The players have gotten on board too.

"I think it just makes an incredible amount of difference in the world," Colts Center Ryan Kelly said.


Kelly says talking about it has given him an outlet to open up about some of his biggest struggles.

“My wife and I's story of losing our daughter," Kelly said.

Kelly has talked about the heartache his family faced in 2021 when his wife, Emma, miscarried their daughter Mary Kate at just 19 weeks.

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"I think everybody has their own story of something, whether it's death or depression or whatever it is. No one is going to go through this life and walk a perfect life," Kelly said.

The Colts organization is hoping they can be an example in making strategic change around the mental health stigma.

"The vulnerability from players that have told their stories as well has really helped resonate with the community — that these big tough football players are also going through something very similar I think is truly powerful," Kelly said.

Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II has also come on board.

"Talking about it just makes me feel better. Everybody's going through something. I never try to make it seem like my problems are bigger than anyone else’s," Moore II said.


To date, they have given out more than $35 million, primarily in Indiana, but also across the country as well.

Their goal is to improve the research and resources surrounding mental health.

"Us as an organization, us as an ownership group, we're acknowledging the stigmas associated with mental health and we want to actively do something about it," Kramer said.