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Delivering a positive mental health message from behind the wheel of a stock car

 

Delivering a positive mental health message from behind the wheel of a stock car

Megan Mitchell is in her rookie season behind the wheel of the MRC Racing #73 Purestock racing machine and has not only put her name into contention for Rookie of the Year honours at Flamboro Speedway, she has a shot at the class championship. In conjunction with her drive to lead on the track, Megan is taking a leading role in the mental health discussion within the motorsports community, as an Ambassador for the Lift The Visor mental health initiative.

An Early Childhood Educator by trade, the Cayuga, Ontario native has shown incredible skill behind the wheel, taking home her first feature win, and second top five of the season, in just six career race day starts. Those finishes, combined with the stellar driving of her co-driver, fellow rookie, and brother, Chase Mitchell, has the team in the mix for the overall class points championship, a position they couldn’t have fathomed to start the season.

“I was having a really bad day, mentally. My first feature race was rough and really affected my emotions,” said Mitchell about the event where she won her first feature race. “My anxiety spiked and I almost asked my brother to race my second feature race. It took some words of encouragement from other drivers, but I climbed in for my second feature, leading it from green to checkers. On top of that, we’re in a good position running for ‘Rookie of the Year’ title, which was one of our goals for 2021, however being second in the championship points standings is mind-blowing to me.”

And while that championship discussion is heating up on the track with just five races remaining, an infinitely more important discussion is taking place in the pits amongst her fellow competitors, crews, track staff and fans. What started in March of this year as the sharing of her personal mental health story at LiftTheVisor.com, so those on a similar journey to hers might find hope, has grown into a mission to create the safest and most supportive racetrack pit area in the motorsports community. That mission now includes twenty of her fellow competitors showcasing Lift The Visor decals on their race cars and helmets, plus the support of track official John Howell, who’s son Chris committed suicide in 2011 after being bullied at school.

“Sharing my mental health journey felt like the first step to being able to accept it personally. Sharing also helped me to connect with others who are facing similar struggles. It gave me a sense of accomplishment to know that my story gave others comfort,” noted Mitchell. “Even though I don’t have my Mental Health journey 100% on the right path, it was an opportunity to come together with others in the Motorsport community who also need help getting on the right path. As Lift The Visor Founder Jory Elliott says, “We are better together.”.

Megan’s leadership in the mental health space extends well beyond the track as well, where she’s invested in her own personal development as a childhood educator, taking a course in childhood mental health at Mohawk College earlier this year.

The championship battle resumes this Saturday night at Flamboro Speedway, and while only time will tell if she’ll be a track champion, there is no doubt that she is already a champion off track.

 For More information on Lift The Visor or to donate chick here.

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