Less than 24 hours removed from an emotional opening-night victory, Raiders defensive tackle Solomon Thomas asked a group of teenagers to raise their hands if they felt like they knew a lot about mental health.
The majority did.
“That’s way more than I knew growing up, and that’s one of the reasons I’m speaking now,” he said. “When I was growing up, when I was a kid, when I was going through things, all these feelings, I didn’t know how to talk about them. And I want to make sure that you all know how to talk about them.”
Thomas spoke to the students — members of the Batteries Included program, an initiative created to ensure teenagers have adequate resources to thrive and prepare for college — during a Tuesday event organized by the city of Las Vegas at City Hall.
The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians presented $10,000 checks to each of the organizations present at the event: The Mayor’s Fund for the City of Las Vegas, The Defensive Line Foundation, Born This Way Foundation and Hope Means Nevada.
“It is good to feel good,” Mayor Carolyn Goodman said. “And it starts with each of us just accepting the resources that are available and knowing that we genuinely care. Your city loves you and wants to see that everybody feels good about themselves.”
Thomas later sat down for a discussion with Dr. Sheldon Jacobs, a psychologist and board member of Hope Means Nevada. Jacobs and Thomas discussed the importance of having these types of conversations about mental health, especially for children.