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Richardson says coaches have role in youth mental health

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On Friday the Binghamton Senators will partner with the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier (MHAST) and Do It For Daron (DIFD) in hosting Power to the Purple Night to promote youth mental health.

DIFD was founded by B-Sens Head Coach Luke Richardson and his family after his 14-year-old daughter Daron lost her life to suicide in 2010.

Power to the Purple Night seeks to inspire conversations about youth mental health and promote mental well-being. Mental health isn't always easy to talk about, but it's definitely worth talking about - the earlier a mental illness is recognized and treated, the better the chances are for recovery. Power to the Purple empowers people to start these important conversations with their friends, family, and community. During Power to the Purple Night, the B-Sens in conjunction with MHAST and DIFD will highlight issues surrounding youth mental illness and promote resources within the Binghamton community which offer mental health support services to youth and their families.

Richardson says that if a child suffering through mental and emotional issues and is a student athlete, often times a coach can play a significant role in their recovery.

"They see them in their social group and their most comfortable place," Richardson said. "Sometimes is in the locker room and on the ice and I think when you do see problems and someone may be pulling back from their peers and their friends or some struggles, I think is just to have good positive communication and to let them know that they're here for you. Sometimes you don't know how to handle certain situations. You usually go back to the parent, but I think if you can give another friendly ear, I think it lets the situation degress a little bit."

The B-Sens will wear special purple jerseys, and fans are asked to wear purple to the game. Purple was Daron's favorite color. Select players jerseys will be auctioned off after the game.

Binghamton hosts Hershey on Friday at 7:05.