Mets, MLB host mental health wellness event at Queens school

May 18th, 2024

Excited chatter, nodded heads of approval and the occasional shushing of rowdy pre-teens by school faculty. This was the atmosphere for an Understanding Mental Wellness event at P.S./M.S. 164 in Flushing, Queens.

The event, which took place on Friday, was a partnership between MLB Together, the Mets and the digital education platform EVERFI and is part of the league's larger Mental Health Awareness Month initiative.

The partnership represented an effort from all parties to provide valuable education and resources, as well as an open forum for questions and discussions surrounding mental health.

“We are really trying to make a difference, starting these kids young to really understand what mental health can do for them for the rest of their lives,” said Ashley Weiner, director of customer success at EVERFI.

Events like this one are part of EVERFI's larger mental health education curriculum, which comes to students free of cost because of the support of outside organizations like MLB and the Mets.

“We're coming to a point where more and more education is being mandated, but there's no financial resources for those courses to actually be put into the schools,” said Weiner.

The cornerstone of the initiative was a panel, led by MLB and school administrators, where panelists spoke about their own experiences dealing with mental health and answered questions from students.

Some of the panelists who spoke were Dr. Angelique Brown, an M.S. 164 teacher; Dr. Jorge Aguilar, a mental health & performance consultant for MLB; and April Brown, MLB’s senior vice president of social responsibility.

“Today we get to meet some of the students, talk to them and help them incorporate some basic skills about being kind to themselves, being kind to one another, and knowing it's OK to ask for help,” April Brown said.

MLB is doing its part to increase mental health awareness and support by partnering with the nonprofit organization Crisis Text Line, which offers free, confidential, 24/7 text-based mental health services.

“We just launched this program a year ago,” April Brown said. “It is Mental Health Awareness Month, but this is important to Major League Baseball each and every day, to make sure our young people are taken care of.”

Aguilar, in addition to being a mental health and performance consultant for MLB, is also a child psychiatrist within the Montefiore Health System primarily working in the Bronx.

“As a child psychiatrist, we often see kids when it's too late. Once things have gotten painful,” said Aguilar. “And so it's such a great opportunity to come out to the schools and do some preventive work.”

Following the panel, group breakout sessions took place involving middle school students and mental health professionals from MLB and EVERFI, as well as school administrators.

The breakout groups focused on students discussing different strategies to improve their social environment and that of their peers.

The specific focus of conversation revolved around how one's school environment can affect their mental health. Participants were encouraged to share strategies to cope with mental health stresses and how children in middle school can benefit from knowing more about mental health awareness.

“I like having events that are fun for the kids, but also something that ties into their real life,” said Angelique Brown. “I have a lot of kids this year that speak with me privately ... about issues with their peers ... or they’re stressing out over school. So I know they're dealing with a lot.”

A few of the groups were student-led, allowing for more casual conversation about a topic that can sometimes be very difficult, especially for those who have personally gone through mental health struggles.

Eyad Mohamad, a seventh grader, was one of those peer leaders, and he explained why he chose to volunteer his time to lead these discussions.

“I want to represent my class and my school, and I want to show a good example,” he said.

Mohamad shared what it felt like to work with MLB and meet a very special guest in Mr. Met.

“It makes me very happy that my school was able to get in contact with them and be able to interact,” he said.

“Thank you, Mr. Met, and thank you, MLB.”

If you are experiencing feelings of loneliness, sadness or just being overwhelmed, you can text MLB to 741741 to reach a volunteer Crisis Counselor at Crisis Text Line, or you can connect via web chat at