Why a Sellout-988 team up? Because some need help to live their stories

Why a Sellout-988 team up? Because some need help to live their stories

Sellout Crowd founder Mike Koehler shares how his story ties together the creation of Sellout Crowd and the importance of mental health help.

Sellout Crowd Network

By Sellout Crowd Network

| Sep 4, 2023, 2:49pm CDT

Sellout Crowd Network

By Sellout Crowd Network

Sep 4, 2023, 2:49pm CDT

Editor’s Note: For our launch week, Sellout Crowd has partnered with 988, Oklahoma’s new mental health hotline. We have discounted and donated all of the advertising inventory on our site and across our platforms to 988 to spread its message and raise awareness about the resources 988 makes available. We will continue to help 988 tell the story of the people struggling and succeeding with their mental health.

Part of Sellout Crowd’s mission is to improve the quality of life for the creators it partners with and to give a respite to Oklahomans who find joy in reading about their favorite teams.

September also is Suicide Prevention Month. Sellout Crowd founder Mike Koehler shares how his story ties together the meaningfulness of that fact, the creation of Sellout Crowd and the importance of mental health help.

How did I get here? I keep asking the same question in 2023 that I did in 2016.

But under much different circumstances. In 2016, I was asking it (loudly) while a hospital attendant sternly told me to hand over my shoelaces while handing me a paper cup containing several pills. Those moments were the first small but significant steps of a mental health journey that winds its way through to today.

As I soak in the first few days of launching a new company surrounded by a community of trusted coworkers, partners, family and dear friends, I’m still wondering how it all happened. How did I get here now?

Help is just a call or text away. Call or text 988 for Oklahoma's Mental Health hotline.

Help is just a call or text away. Call or text 988 for Oklahoma’s Mental Health hotline.

It happened by acknowledging a desperate need for a new way of living. It happened by crying out for help on a day I thought would be my last. It happened by using all the services I could find to rewrite my life story. Many steps were needed to create a mental health path from that day to this: counseling, prayers, medication, meditation, tears and rage, a commitment to truth and reckoning with many past mistakes. 

Even though it was only a few years ago when my wife walked me through those hospital doors, I carried the burden of keeping my mental health struggle a secret at the time. Even then, there was an aura of stigma, especially for an older male business owner. I was supposed to “fake it til I made it,” right? Instead, that combination of self-destruction and anger turned into a mental hand grenade that eventually went off. 

I made my best guess about what help I needed and how to get it. I didn’t have the peace that others can now find when they punch 988 into their phones. What a relief to know that others can take a breath before they make the last decision of their life and discover the transformational power of help. 

I owe a debt to those who cared enough to carry me from brokenness to maintenance to restoration. By no means is my mental health fully resolved, nor is its impact on my life. But now, when I have bad days, I know the practices to renew myself. And I also know how to look for and empathize with those around me who need a kind word or to write their new chapter. 

The root of Sellout Crowd, our new company, is a mission to help sports content creators find new freedom to do great work. I saw these talented people who longed to feel honored for their craft and sought fulfillment in the long nights of work they put in for their audience. 

Like teaching, journalism is one of those professions where the dedication to strive for the ideal pushes people to sacrifice themselves and their time. Some of my new colleagues have traded decades of Saturdays with their families to share college football stories with all of Oklahoma. 

All those lost hours can push people to the brink, no matter their profession. By no means do I say my peers have a more challenging time than someone who toils hammering nails into a roof during the Oklahoma summer. But the point is that everyone should have the opportunity to find their own fulfillment, contentment and mental health. 

Having looked into the darkest part of myself, knowing there are more tools, more help, and more opportunities to save people at their most vulnerable makes me feel like our community is going in the right direction. 

Healthy minds are not only more open to hearing the stories of others, but they are also in a better position to tell them.  

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