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Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard launches mental health helpline

Line will connect callers with mental health services, other hotlines
Darius Leonard helpline
Posted at 12:20 AM, Apr 06, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — Colts linebacker Darius Leonard’s Maniac Foundation has created a helpline to connect callers with mental health services.

The helpline will also have a message recorded by Leonard himself that will rotate every month. This month, he tells callers that they are good enough, encourages them to keep going, and thanks them for seeking help.

“We're trying to change the world one by one. That's the mindset of the whole thing. How can we be a change in this world?" said Leonard.

Leonard wants to use his platform and his own mental health struggles to help others.

“If I can say that my mental (health) isn't 100, then other people can say things about their mental health, and kind of go from there,” he said.

Ashley Overley, CEO of Sandra Eskenazi Mental Health Center, said that it’s important to end the stigma around mental health. That’s how more people seek help. She thinks Leonard’s hotline and his openness could help a lot of people with their own struggles.

“I think we need more football stars, more movie stars, more people from marginalized communities,” Overley said. “A well-known figure who is admired and respected being able to share their own struggles definitely helps normalize that.”

The hotline also offers callers easy access to other hotlines.

“I think that's really positive. I think it can be really confusing to navigate all of the resources out there,” said Overley.

In the first 24 hours, the Maniac Foundation says it received hundreds of calls.

“Just to get them through the day, the week, the year, that's what it's all about. That's what puts a smile on my face and helps me sleep at night, knowing that I'm giving this world my best,” said Leonard.

You can reach the Maniac helpline anytime by calling 833-MANIAC4, or 833-626-2442.