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Join Project Thrive

What is Project Thrive?

The Chicago Wolves always strive to be the best community partner to our neighbors and fans. Together with #SameHere Global Mental Health Movement founder Eric Kussin and the #SameHere Alliance of athletes and practitioners, the Wolves have created Project Thrive to change the conversation about mental well-being in the greater Chicago area.

While surveys claim 1 in 5 people deal with “mental health issues” at any given time, we believe life’s journey and its inevitable challenges make mental health a “5-in-5” topic that exists on a continuum for everyone. We will use Project Thrive to emphasize that everyone should be supported and encouraged to discuss mental wellness freely — while offering biweekly initiatives designed to help everyone thrive.

Project Thrive is meant to open dialogue, not diagnose. Neither the Chicago Wolves nor their affiliates provide clinical or medical care of any kind via their relationship with the #SameHere Global Mental Health Movement. At no time should a visitor/follower have an expectation of care or professional services being available or rendered.


The #SameHere movement was founded by 15-year professional sports executive Eric Kussin, who initially started the “We’re All a Little ‘Crazy'” foundation. The movement brings together athletes, celebrities and expert practitioners to help remove the stigma surrounding mental health.

The #SameHere global mental health movement is determined to spread this message: EVERYONE in the world is affected by life’s inevitable traumas and stresses. We can’t escape them, as they are part of the human experience, and they impact us on many levels. Mental health exists on a continuum for each person, though some experience more severe declines than others over varying periods of time in their lives (and some people are more genetically predisposed to such declines).

Because of this, the movement’s view is that we should all be open and accepting of those who need help —because we’re one community in this “crazy” world, all fighting our own unique, but often similar, battles. For more information about Eric and the #SameHere Global Mental Health Movement, visit www.samehereglobal.org.

The members of the movement — many of whom are professional athletes and celebrities — are determined to use their individual brands, but collective platforms, and their consistent #SameHere message about mental health on a continuum, to open up the world to this concept and make it socially acceptable among friends, family, and co-workers to talk freely about our mental health concerns and battles, and to applaud those who share those concerns and ask for help. #SameHere shares its message with school and colleges, first responders, military and veteran organizations and businesses around the world.

Join us in the 5-in-5 #SameHere Social Media Challenge

We need your help to spread the word, raise awareness, make a difference and thrive. By participating you’ll be showing others mental health and wellness is “Same Here!” and 5-in-5. Please consider printing out the downloadable 5-in-5 #SameHere Challenge sign in this section – you can type in the boxes before you print the sign, or write in the boxes after you print the sign but be sure to fill out what your current Challenge is as it relates to your mental health and then fill out how you Thrive in a way that helps your mental health. For examples, please refer to the video posted below.

Once your sign is completed/printed, take a picture of yourself holding it and post the photo to your social media channel(s). Tag three people in your post asking them to participate. Send us your picture using the form below to be added to our #SameHere Social Media virtual wall.

Use the hashtags #WolvesProjectThrive #SameHereChallenge and tag @samehere_global in your post.

Download the 5-in-5 #SameHere Challenge sign: PDF | Word Doc

5in5 #SameHere Challenge Submission

  • Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg.
    Please upload your photo as a .jpg file with a max file size of 5MB.

Project Thrive Zoom Sessions

We will host six one-hour Project Thrive Zoom Sessions. There will be sessions two Thursday nights per month beginning in early February (see dates below). Each session will be led by an expert in integrative health, which is a holistic, patient-focused approach to health care and wellness. The purpose of these sessions is to discuss mental health and wellness in a judgment-free forum designed for easy learning — where we all come away with a better understanding how to manage our mental well-being.

Topics (and dates) for these first six sessions are:

  1. #SameHere Movement (Feb. 4)
  2. Sleep 101 (Feb. 18)
  3. Benefits of Connecting with Nature (March 4)
  4. How Stress, Diet and Inflammation can be major causes of mental health issues (March 18)
  5. Moving Your Body to Strengthen the Mind: The Power of Being Active (April 1)
  6. #SameHere Self-Awareness (April 8)

#SameHere Movement (Feb. 4)

A discussion about how mental health is a topic for “5 in 5” people, and stretches way beyond the “1 in 5” statistic that’s so often cited! Eric Kussin will speak about the rise of his career in professional sports, then his sudden and severe mental health crash that left him bed-bound for more than two-and-a-half years. His experience and the realization that the topic of mental health needed a complete social paradigm shift fueled his desire to get involved in global advocacy work. He now brings together an alliance of athletes, celebrities, doctors and everyday people to share the common life challenges that we ALL face, that make us part of the same group. The Alliance works to make this topic part of our everyday conversation.

Sleep 101 (Feb. 18)

Restorative sleep is a foundation of good health. When we don’t sleep well, it affects everything from physical health, to mental wellbeing, performance, relationships, and beyond. In this workshop, you’ll learn the fundamentals of sleep science, why sleep is important for performance and health, a few common sleep myths debunked, and how to optimize your sleep without relying on pills.

Benefits of Connecting with Nature (March 4)

Americans spend 93% of their time indoors. Data is clear, however, that reconnecting with the natural world has many mental, emotional, and physical benefits, including decreasing stress, anxiety, depression, and even reducing your risk of cancer. In this presentation everyone will learn about the healing potential of engaging with the natural world with all your senses, and simple ways to harness this power to heal and relax the mind and body — even on days you can’t get outside.

How Stress, Diet and Inflammation Can Be Major Causes of Mental Health Issues (March 18)













Over the last decade, anti-depressants have been shown to be less effective in the treatment of depression as once thought. Research is beginning to show many psychiatric conditions may occur due to stress, diet and inflammation. There is a direct link from the gut to the brain that may trigger inflammatory events that lead to depression. If stress, diet and inflammation are not addressed, inflammation can cause worsening of conditions like traumatic brain injury, which increase the risk of developing dementia. Indeed, this inflammation can not only affect the brain but can lead to other health problems like diabetes, heart attacks, high blood pressure and auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. This session will discuss why these events occur and provide information on how to address lifestyle issues in order to decrease the risk for mental health issues such as depression and other chronic diseases.

Moving Your Body to Strengthen the Mind – The Power of Being Active (April 1)











In this session, we will discuss how becoming more active can not only help your physical health, but your mental well-being and overall outlook as well.

During the session, attendees will learn:

  • The positive effects of exercise for brain health
  • The American College of Sports Medicine recommendations for physical activity
  • The definition, experience, and benefits of flow
  • How to utilize movement to decrease your stress level and improve your mood

#Same Here Self-Awareness (April 8)

“We are all expected to be tough and strong, right? Being tough means acknowledging there is a problem. Being strong means asking for help.” —Arman Taghizadeh, M.D.

When it comes to mental health statistics, the numbers are alarming. However, they only tell part of the story. The truth is that we are all affected to a large extent. Ironically, those who are more vulnerable are often less aware of how to recognize issues or what they can do to help themselves.

This seminar focuses on self-awareness by telling us what we truly need to know about mental health and mental illness —and how our mind processes thoughts and emotions that impact our actions or behavior.

Dr. Taghizadeh, or “Dr. T” as he is known, is a Johns Hopkins-trained Board Certified Adult, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist also specializing in Sports Psychiatry. He is the founder of Mindset Training Institute (MTI) and host of the podcast “The Mindset Experience.”

He utilizes his medical training, mental health knowledge, and personal athletic experience to explain the biology and psychology of self-awareness. He teaches specific skills, why they are important and how to actively integrate them into your daily practice to develop confidence, improve health and wellness, and promote resilience. With attention, dedication and practice, participants will develop a template necessary for success and enjoyment in all aspects of life.

For more information about Dr. T: mindsettraininginstitute.com

*All Zoom sessions will take place at 7:30 p.m. Central Time and last approximately 60 to 75 minutes

More integrative health topics and sessions will follow. There is a $10 charge for each session with a portion of the proceeds going back to #SameHere Global, which has arranged for the expert practitioners leading the sessions. When you select three sessions, you also receive a voucher for one Green-level ticket to a future Thrive Night at Allstate Arena. Select all six sessions and receive a voucher for two Green level tickets. All vouchers will be valid through the 2021-22 season.

Project Thrive Zoom* Sessions Scheduled Experts


Eric Kussin
Founder, We Are All A Little Crazy and the #SameHere Movement

Eric is a 19-year professional sports executive who got his start at the NBA League office. After five years with the League, he went the team business route and rose in the ranks with the WNBA’s expansion Chicago Sky & the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. He then switched to the NHL and led large staffs with the New Jersey Devils & Florida Panthers. However, a debilitating mental health crisis stopped Kussin’s career and life in its tracks for over two-and-a-half years. After many failed treatment modalities, he was lucky enough to learn healing practices that enabled him to dig out of his abyss, and ultimately thrive. He found a higher calling in “We’re All a Little Crazy” and #SameHere, the Global Mental Health Alliance.The Alliance is comprised of athletes and celebrities, along with media members, expert practitioners, advocates, and everyday heroes who’ve come together to make talking about mental health a common topic for “5 out of 5” of us. In less than three years, the Alliance’s #SameHere Movement and its customized programs have swept across American college campuses from Cornell to USC, corporate offices from CNBC to JP Morgan Chase, professional sports teams from the Los Angeles Clippers to the New York Mets, front line workers from the Department of Defense to the NYPD and have helped K-12 students across the country as well.
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Dr. Jodie Skillicorn
D.O., Integrative Psychiatrist

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Dr. Nishi Bhopal
MD, Integrative Psychiatrist & Founder of Intra-Balance

  • Board certified in Psychiatry (ABPN), Sleep medicine (ABPN), and Integrative Holistic Medicine (ABIHM)
  • Certified in Ayurveda from Maharishi Ayurveda Association of America
  • Current Fellow in Integrative Psychiatry through Integrative Psychiatry Institute
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Dr. Deborah Simkin

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor at Emory School of Medicine
  • Co-Chair for the Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM) Committee for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Certified in Functional Medicine by the Institute of Functional Medicine, Board certified in Neurofeedback and a Distinguished Fellow for AACAP
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Arman Taghizadeh, M.D.
DFAACAP, DFAPA, Integrative Sports Psychiatrist

  • Founder of Mindset Training Institute & Host of the Podcast “The Mindset Experience.”
  • Baltimore Magazine has selected him as “Top Doctor” in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020.
  • Baltimore Business Journal and the Living Classrooms Foundation has recognized him as a “Rising Star.”
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Dr. Holly MacKenna
MD, Integrative Psychiatrist, Founder & Director of Dara Wellness

  • Dr. MacKenna specializes in offering trauma-informed stress management to busy people on the Gulf Coast in person and via telemedicine.
  • She offers integrative psychiatry to veterans, first responders, healthcare workers, busy professionals, and anyone who is ready to partner with her in their journey toward wellness.
  • Dr. MacKenna is a Fellow with the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine and is trained in MBSR and DBT.
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*Project Thrive Zoom sessions require pre-registration as space is limited. In order to participate, if you do not already have a Zoom account, you will need to download the free app. Links for the specific sessions will be sent out prior to each session.


Download the Maryville #SameHere Challenge sign: PDF

For more information on the 5in5 #SameHere Challenge or Project Thrive please use the form below.

Project Thrive Information Request Form