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Feb. 10, 2023

Northwest student-athletes, staff stepping up to support mental health awareness, Maryville medical center

A pair of Northwest Missouri State University student-athletes are making their marks on and off the basketball court by joining a community initiative to raise awareness about mental health needs and resources.

Wes Dreamer, a member of the Bearcat men’s basketball team, and Jayna Green, a member of the Bearcat women’s basketball team, are sharing their experiences with mental health as members of the 2023 St. Francis Gala Mental Health Ambassador Team to support programs and services at Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville. Since 1976, the St. Francis Foundation has helped ensure the northwest Missouri region is equipped with exceptional health care by funding advanced equipment, technology and patient care services.

As part of the initiative, Dreamer and Green – with former Bearcat women’s basketball players, Alexis and Candace Boeh, who also are serving as ambassadors – hosted a basketball clinic Feb. 5 at Bearcat Arena. The event raised more than $3,000 for the campaign.

Wes Dreamer (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Wes Dreamer (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

As an ambassador for the campaign, Dreamer, a junior finance major with an emphasis in corporate finance from Alvo, Nebraska, describes the struggles he faced early in his college career as he tried to balance the demands of coursework with athletics. Eventually, he learned to discuss how he was feeling with family members and friends, and he received assistance from a Mosaic physician. He is urging community members not to be afraid of talking with others and seeking help.  

“Don’t be scared,” Dreamer said. “Try not to think about what other people are going to think about you. None of that really matters. It’s kind of just you and your close people who are the most important in your life. And don’t worry about what other people have to think about you. That’s my biggest motivation right there.”

Jayna Green (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Jayna Green (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Green, a senior biology major with an emphasis in biomedical science from Omaha, Nebraska, recalls becoming aware of her mental health needs as a high school student. She credits her family as well as her teammates, coaches and staff at Northwest for providing a valuable support system that has helped her stay grounded while she navigates the stressors of college life. She also visits with counselors and practices journaling to help her work through mental health challenges.

“You don’t have to be the toughest person,” Green said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a girl or the captain of your basketball team or you’re a student and you’re trying to make straight A's. Nobody’s perfect, and I think that’s one of the things I’ve struggled with most is just letting your guard down and letting people help you because everybody wants to help, and they just want you to be the best person that you can be.”

Joining Dreamer and Green, the ambassador team includes Northwest staff members Dr. Allison Hoffmann, the assistant vice president of admissions and student success, and Dr. Kori Hoffmann, the assistant vice president of student affairs for student engagement and development.

As the number of Northwest students reporting mental health struggles and needing hospitalization has tripled in recent years, the University has placed a focus on reinforcing mental health services and resources available on campus and in the community, in addition to educating faculty and staff about signs of mental health issues.

“We’ve definitely seen that parents and families really want to know that their students are going to be supported,” Allison said. “That means, obviously, not just academically but also outside of the classroom, their overall well-being, and so we see increased questions coming in about the types of supports that we have for students. So it is really important that we offer those resources both on campus but also our collaborative efforts with Mosaic and being able to serve students that are in a crisis situation.”

Northwest Interim President Dr. Clarence Green and his wife, Chelli, are serving as the hosts of the annual gala, which happens this year on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Mozingo Lake Conference Center.

“Chelli and I are called to act because of our purpose in life to create a culture that allows folks to achieve beyond what they believe is possible,” Clarence said. “We have a lot to learn about the impacts of mental health, but we know now that we are in need of additional resources to face the challenges that are in front of us. This is our community, and we firmly believe that we are better when we work together.” 

This year’s theme, “Here to Heal,” is aimed at helping implement mental health resources throughout the region. Proceeds from the gala will help create an outdoor space, expanded classroom and therapy space, and a secure visitor space for inpatient mental health unit at Mosaic Medical Center-Maryville. In addition, Mosaic is working to expand providers and services in its outpatient clinic.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215