On March 1st, 2022, Stanford University's women's soccer goalkeeper and team captain Katie Meyer was found dead by suicide by her roommate. She was 22.
Katie was what one could call the poster-girl representing what it means to be successful; a senior at one of the most prestigious Ivy Leagues in the nation, and wildly impressive in her sport as she helped lead her team to a national championship in 2019. She had even garnered a following on social media platforms including Instagram and Tiktok. Aside from all of her success, however, Katie was struggling more than anybody knew.
On social media, Katie had subtly opened up about her battles with mental health, stating in a Tiktok on her account @katiemeyer_mp4 that she would go on morning walks as a way to “properly fight her demons". Unfortunately, her struggles went unnoticed by many. Katie’s parents Gina and
Steve Meyer told NBC’s Today Show that they “had [seen] no red flags” that could have raised any warning of Katie’s mental state. They even reported that during a Facetime call taking place with Katie merely hours before her death, she appeared happy and upbeat.
Katie, as well as so many others, had put up a fight against the stress and pressure to be perfect that she endured daily. It is too often that struggling members of our community feel silenced by the pressures that surround them that deem speaking out about mental health as taboo. Athletes like Katie are acknowledged for their superhuman athletic abilities, but their emotional vulnerability that makes them human is completely disregarded. Even beyond just athletes, the substance of our identities is unfairly determined by our abilities compared to those of others, which only adds to the pressures of constantly being better and stronger even if we are struggling.
We as a society need to wake up. We need to realize that before we are students, before we are athletes, and before we are leaders, we are human. Health is not just the treatment of a sports injury or the maintenance of a strict diet and exercise plan. Health is prioritizing our mental wellness above everything. We need to address the root cause behind the “silently struggling” narrative that consumes so many athletes like Katie. We need to make the effort to prevent yet another tragic loss.
Katie Meyer did not go silently. Her tragic death has shaken the nation, especially within Stanford's community. The evening after Katie’s death, thousands stood hand in hand to honor who was a friend and role model to many, completely filling up Maloney Field. May this tragedy be the wake up call our society needs to break the crumbling facades that
consume the hearts and minds of our communities.
May Katie Meyers rest in peace, and may we never forget her and all of the other souls taken from this world too soon. Today and every day, we unite to fight for them. We fight for us.
Check out these links to see what you can do to help. One by one, it starts with us.
-Donate to the GoFundMe in support of Katie Meyer's Memorial Fund at https://www.gofundme.com/f/katie-meyer-memorial-fund
-Visit Charity Navigator's Blog listing "10 Charities Working on Suicide Prevention and Mental Health" at: https://blog.charitynavigator.org/2018/06/charity-navigators-top-10-tuesday_12.html?m=1
and donate if you are able to.
-Check in on your loved ones. Be kind, always. Be there for yo
urself. Help us stay united.
If you or anybody you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, don't hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255