15:33 PM

Tying scarfs, breaking mental health stigmas

Nationwide, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Columbus Crew set a world record, raise awareness for children’s mental health

1 in 5 children live with a mental health disorder and 50% of lifetime mental illness presents before the age of 14. The stigma associated with children’s mental health is a massive problem so breaking those stigmas requires a massive effort. Fortunately, the Columbus Crew and their supporters are up to the task.

On May 11, 2022, a team of volunteers and partners of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and On Our Sleeves, the national movement for children’s mental health, laid out a chain of more than 1,000 specially-designed Wrap Them In Support fan scarfs around Lower.com Field, the home of the Crew. The feat was more than symbolic, it was record-setting.

Upon careful inspection of the chain that measured nearly one mile in length at 4,848.56 feet, official adjudicator Brittany Dunn declared that the display successfully set the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for Longest Chain of Sports Fan Scarfs.

The creative effort to raise funds and awareness for youth mental health kicked off in October when fans could purchase the custom, cause-related scarfs. For every purchase, the Crew donated a scarf towards the record-setting attempt that coincided with Mental Health Awareness Month. The prized scarf tied together a community-wide commitment through the Wrap Them In Support campaign, where all proceeds benefit On Our Sleeves to provide free mental health educational resources to every community in America.

“Our mission is to help families start and respond to those difficult conversations surrounding childhood mental health,” said Marti Bledsoe Post, executive director of On Our Sleeves. “Despite the fact that one in five children is living with a mental illness, there’s often stigma around the topic. With the donations from this campaign, we can ensure that families everywhere have resources to boost mental health.”

“We are extremely proud of the Crew community for coming together to help break the stigma surrounding childhood mental health,” said Kristin Bernert, Columbus Crew President of Business Operations. “To see our pitch wrapped in this symbol of support and know that we are making a real impact is incredibly rewarding. Helping to set this record has drawn much-needed attention to the On Our Sleeves mission, and we are honored to partner with Nationwide Children’s Hospital on this important initiative.”

“Nationwide is incredibly proud of this partnership and of the awareness and support we’re driving to help children and families benefiting from On Our Sleeves,” said Ramon Jones, chief marketing officer for Nationwide. “It’s rewarding to come together in a creative way to express our commitment, and to rally our community members to join the cause.”

Though the record has been set, fans may still support the cause by purchasing commemorative scarfs, which were donated by the Crew and used to complete the record-setting chain. The achievement will be celebrated during On Our Sleeves night at the May 21 Columbus Crew game.  Signed On Our Sleeves match-worn gear and signed scarfs will also be auctioned off soon after the game with all proceeds benefiting On Our Sleeves.

For more information about breaking stigmas and starting conversations, visit onoursleeves.org.