Today the Metropolitan Riveters announced a landmark partnership with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey (BCBSNJ) for the upcoming NWHL season. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state’s oldest and largest health insurer. It is a tax-paying, not-for-profit health service serving approximately 3.5 million New Jerseyans.
“We are incredibly excited to announce this historic partnership,” Riveters general manager Kate Whitman Annis said in the league’s release. “Among our players’ biggest passions is working to end the stigma around mental health in sports. With Horizon’s long history of promoting health and wellness initiatives, and its commitment to behavioral health in particular, this partnership will move the conversation forward in New Jersey.”
It’s worth noting that Riveters’ captain Madison Packer has been an outspoken advocate for mental health and addiction. Last season, Packer brought attention to the Kyle Pavone Foundation at Riveters’ home games to raise awareness about the epidemics of overdose and mental health.
“Overdose is currently the leading cause of death in America for people under 50,” Packer said last year. “It is hard to have the uncomfortable conversations, but it is harder to see a family and community endure the loss. Mental health is important. Substance abuse education is important. They are separate categories that often work hand-in-hand. I have lost a lot of people I love, and watched a lot of people I care about lose someone they love to substance abuse or suicide. Given the statistics, I know I am not alone.”
Suicide and overdose rates are increasing at a crippling rate in the US. This past year I lost family and friends to both epidemics. We have a problem America. I challenge you to acknowledge it. Become an ally and stand with us on the right side of mental health and addiction.— Madison Packer (@madison_packer_) January 25, 2019
According to the league’s release, Horizon BCBSNJ will be the presenting sponsor of the Rivs’ starting lineup for all home games and will be a sponsor of a Riveters digital newsletter that will begin in January.
It goes without saying that a partnership like this is a big win for the Riveters given the uncertainty of the next NWHL season and the number of players on the roster, including Packer, who are advocates for mental health.