U.S. women’s national team stars Naomi Girma, Sophia Smith and Sofia Huerta have joined a new initiative aimed at tackling the rising mental health issues in soccer.

Girma, Smith and Huerta are among the international players to back the “Create the Space” project. Arsenal’s Beth Mead and Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell also are involved.

Through “Create the Space,” these players will join forces with Common Goal to develop a program that will help break down the stigma surrounding mental health. Both clubs and individuals can make use of the program.

Girma has been involved with Common Goal since before the 2023 World Cup. Girma and Smith also dedicated their World Cup journeys and their participation in the initiative to their Stanford teammate Katie Meyer, who died by suicide last spring.

On Thursday, Girma said that the new initiativ  “will help people be the best versions of themselves and may even save lives.”

“What I have learned through losing my best friend, is that everyone struggles in their own way, even when it doesn’t seem they are,” Girma said. “Suffering doesn’t always look like the way it’s portrayed in the movies. No matter if I am a professional athlete, a student or whatever, making sure that I’m checking in on others and checking in on myself is so important.”

In England, Common Goal will develop a program alongside charity Football Beyond Borders.

“In January I lost my Mum and because of the injury I couldn’t play football, which was always my escape, my happy place,” Mead said. “Moments when people thought I was fine because of my outgoing personality, were very dark.

“It’s been a tough process to understand. Teammates, people at the club, family and friends that supported me were so important, without them I could have been in a far darker place. I want to help create an environment in which it’s totally normal to address mental health.

“There’s not a perfect way of dealing with it, but if you feel you’re not alone it helps so much. We need to normalize mental health and in doing so that would go a long way.”

Note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in emotional distress, call or text the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

The parents of Katie Meyer, the star soccer goalie at Stanford who died by suicide last spring, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the university.

According to the lawsuit, Meyer, a former captain of the soccer team and 2019 national champion, was facing disciplinary action by Stanford at the time of her death. She allegedly spilled coffee on a football player while riding her bike.

The football player allegedly had sexually assaulted one of Meyer’s teammates, who at the time was a minor, according to the lawsuit.

Meyer’s father told USA Today that his daughter had been defending the teammate.

On the night of her death, Meyer’s parents said they spoke with her via FaceTime about spring break plans. According to her mother, she was in a good mood. But later that evening, Meyer received a formal disciplinary notice via email from Stanford totaling six pages.

The lawsuit states that the email was sent “negligently and recklessly” and that it “contained threatening language regarding sanctions and potential ‘removal from the university.’” By the time Meyer received the email at 7 p.m., Stanford’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services was closed.

Meyer was found dead in her dorm room the next day. An autopsy confirmed the manner of death was from suicide.

In addition to wrongful death, the lawsuit also charges the university with Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress and related actions.

“Stanford’s after-hours disciplinary charge, and the reckless nature and manner of submission to Katie, caused Katie to suffer an acute stress reaction that impulsively led to her suicide,” the lawsuit states. “Katie’s suicide was completed without planning and solely in response to the shocking and deeply distressing information she received from Stanford while alone in her room without any support or resources.’

“Katie, sitting alone in her dorm room, when it was dark outside, immediately responded to the email expressing how ‘shocked and distraught’ she was over being charged and threatened with removal from the university,’’ the complaint continues. “Stanford failed to respond to Katie’s expression of distress, instead ignored it and scheduled a meeting for 3 days later via email. Stanford employees made no effort whatsoever to check on Katie’s well-being, either by a simple phone call or in-person welfare check.’’

In a statement to multiple media outlets, Stanford spokesperson Dee Mostofi refuted the lawsuit’s claims.

“The Stanford community continues to grieve Katie’s tragic death and we sympathize with her family for the unimaginable pain that Katie’s passing has caused them,” Mostofi wrote.

“However, we strongly disagree with any assertion that the university is responsible for her death. While we have not yet seen the formal complaint brought by the Meyer family, we are aware of some of the allegations made in the filing, which are false and misleading,” Mostofi added.

The family of Katie Meyer is aiming to improve support systems for students who are struggling with their mental health.

Meyer, a goalkeeper for the Stanford women’s soccer team, died by suicide in March. She was 22 years old.

The family has designed a policy called Katie’s Save that universities can use to bolster their student support systems. Through the policy, institutions would be required to send an email notification to an adult “Designated Advocate” of the student’s choice. The notification would be sent if an emotional or mental health visit on campus results in the prescribing of medication, among other situations.

The family has also started a Change.org petition to urge universities, students and advocates to come together to help navigate the mental health crisis facing college students and implement the policy. Since March, at least five NCAA athletes have died by suicide, four of them women: Meyer, Sarah Shulze, Jayden Hill, Robert Martin and Lauren Bernett.

Others also have opened up about their struggles with mental health in recent weeks.

A lengthy investigation published by the Orange County Register last Tuesday detailed how at least six current or former swimmers at the University of California Berkeley had reportedly been driven to contemplate suicide by their coach, Teri McKeever. McKeever has since been placed on leave. Wisconsin swimmer and 2022 NCAA champion Paige McKenna also documented her struggles in a social media post last week, revealing that she had also dealt with suicidal thoughts.

A recent survey published by the NCAA revealed that athletes in women’s sports reported more mental health concerns than their peers in men’s sports.

Note: If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or is in emotional distress, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

OL Reign, the Chicago Red Stars and the Portland Thorns are honoring the legacy of Katie Meyer through a pre-season fundraiser, with each team committed to donating money throughout a tournament hosted by the Thorns. The donations will go to Lines for Life in an effort to promote mental wellness and suicide prevention.

Each team will donate $100 per goal, $100 per save and $250 per shutout. Additionally, the Thorns’ club partner Providence Health & Services will be donating $2,500 to the cause.

Meyer, a goalkeeper and captain on the Stanford women’s soccer team, died last Tuesday in a campus residence at 22 years old. Following a Santa Clara County medical examiner ruling her death as self-inflicted, Meyer’s parents confirmed that she died by suicide.

Other teams have been honoring Meyer, with the Stanford women’s basketball team wearing Stanford soccer warm-up shirts as well as wristbands with her initials and jersey number prior to their first game of the Pac-12 tournament.

Additionally, showings of support have come from around the NWSL during preseason matches.

The parents of Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer confirmed Friday that the 22-year-old died by suicide on Tuesday in a campus residence. Meyer was a captain on the Stanford women’s soccer team and an NCAA champion.

A Santa Clara County medical examiner ruled Meyer’s death as self-inflicted on Thursday, finding no indication of foul play. A day earlier, the university announced Meyer’s death in a statement but gave no cause.

“The last couple days are like a parent’s worst nightmare and you don’t wake up from it,” Gina Meyer, Katie’s mother, told Stephanie Gosk on TODAY. “So it’s just horrific. I don’t even think it’s hit us yet, we’re still in shock.”

Gina and Steven Meyer said they spoke with Katie on FaceTime just hours before her death and she appeared to be in good spirits. Looking for answers, the couple said they believe Meyer received an email about potential disciplinary action from the university and may have feared the consequences.

“Katie, being Katie, was defending a teammate on campus over an incident and the repercussions of her defending that teammate (were possibly resulting in disciplinary action),” Steven Meyer said on TODAY.

The parents have not seen the email, but said she had been getting letters “for a couple months.”

“This letter was kind of the final letter that there was going to be a trial or some kind of something,” Gina said. “This is the only thing that we can come up with that triggered something.”

In a statement to TODAY, Stanford University said it was not able to share information “about confidential student disciplinary matters.”

“Our entire community is devastated by Katie’s death, and we share our deepest condolences with Katie’s family and everyone who knew her at Stanford, across the country and around the world. Katie touched so many lives,” the statement read. “We as a university community continue to grieve with Katie’s family and cherish our memories of her.”

On Thursday, the Stanford women’s basketball team honored Meyer before its 57-44 win over Oregon State in the Pac-12 tournament. Players ran out onto the court wearing Stanford soccer warm-up shirts and wristbands displaying Meyer’s initials and jersey number. This followed a show of support from Orlando Pride and Kansas City Current players before an NWSL preseason scrimmage on Wednesday night.

“Katie was one of our biggest supporters who loved coming to our games and making her presence felt,” Stanford women’s basketball wrote in a statement. “Thinking about a life without Katie is a life without an unapologetically authentic, bold and bright person who exuded nothing but confidence.

“We are so grateful to have known and loved Katie, to have watched her energy and competitiveness on the field, and to have been recipients of her support.”

The team also organized a vigil for Meyer after not being able to attend the one on Stanford’s campus.

The Orlando Pride and Kansas City Current honored late Stanford goalkeeper Katie Meyer before a preseason scrimmage on Wednesday night. Meyer, a captain on the Stanford women’s soccer team and an NCAA champion, died Tuesday in a campus residence at 22 years old.

Players from the two teams stood together in a circle for a moment of silence, with some wearing tape on their wrists with the the letters “KM.”

“Our hearts go out to Katie’s family, friends and the Stanford soccer community,” the Current wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night.

A three-year starter for the Cardinal, Meyer made two key saves in a penalty shootout to lead Stanford to its third NCAA championship in 2019.

Meyer was found dead in a Stanford residence building Tuesday, and the university confirmed her identity Wednesday. No cause of death was given.

Katie Meyer, a senior at Stanford and a goalkeeper and captain on the Stanford women’s soccer team, died Tuesday in a campus residence. She was 22.

Stanford Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Athletic Director Bernard Muir confirmed the news in a message to students, faculty and staff on Wednesday after an initial report Tuesday did not identify Meyer out of respect for the family’s privacy.

The school did not reveal the cause of death.

Meyer was an International Relations major and History minor at Stanford. A three-year starter on the Cardinal women’s soccer team, Meyer made two critical saves in a penalty shootout against North Carolina in 2019 to help Stanford win its third NCAA championship. She was a two-time Pac-12 champion, a member of the 2019 College Cup All-Tournament team and a two-year captain.

“Katie was extraordinarily committed to everything and everyone in her world,” Brubaker-Cole and Muir wrote.

“Her friends describe her as a larger-than-life team player in all her pursuits, from choosing an academic discipline she said ‘changed my perspective on the world and the very important challenges that we need to work together to overcome’ to the passion she brought to the Cardinal women’s soccer program and to women’s sports in general.”

During her time at Stanford, Meyer served as an intern at Just Women’s Sports and was a member of JWS’ inaugural Varsity Squad.

A native of Burbank, Calif., Meyer is survived by her parents, Steven and Gina, and her two sisters, Samantha and Siena.

Stanford counseling staff have been on site at the residence hall and are working with student-athletes on campus, Brubaker-Cole and Muir said.

Just Women’s Sports released the following statement:

“Just Women’s Sports is heartbroken to learn of the passing of Katie Meyer. Katie was one of the first athletes we ever interviewed. She went on to become an intern at JWS and was a valuable member of our team. With every interaction, we felt her passion, charisma, intelligence and humor. Katie was a tremendous leader, a national champion, and someone whose energy inspired everyone she knew. She will be greatly missed. All of our thoughts are with her family and friends.”