Vision: A group committed to spreading awareness of mental health and trauma in the ultimate community.

Disclaimer: The contributors to Time for the Ultimate Talk are not licensed to provide mental health care. If you or someone you care about it is in a life-threatening situation, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 for free. There are people who have been trained to provide confidential support by phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.

Mission: We have teamed up to host courageous conversations about mental health and trauma. We believe sharing information, resources, and hope can create a supportive and understanding environment where each ultimate player can live their best life and play their best game.

Our group's work begins here. We'll use this site as the one-stop-shop for key information about what we're organizing. Thank you for talking, sharing, and growing with us.

  • For information on free mental health resources in English, Español, and for those who are deaf and hard of hearing, see the "Free Resources..." section at bottom of the website (link in table of contents to right). This section includes information where you connect by phone, chat, or text for free to trained individuals at any time.

  • These resources includes information around suicide and self harm, as well as resources for sexual assault, substance abuse, and resources for LGBTQ+ youth.

I'm interested, where can I learn more?

  • College Teach-Ins: Our current offering is focused on increasing mental health and trauma awareness on college teams.

  • What's next for TFTUT? The facilitators have reflected on the first round of sessions, and we’re grateful for the feedback. We're planning more efforts focused on three themes:

1. Team support: We heard feedback that there are specific teams that are interested in having conversations. We'll be exploring how the work from the facilitators and others can support teams & programs looking to learn and grow.

2. Awareness, engagement, & learning: We have planned to continue teach-ins on a variety of topics, many picked up from the feedback participants provided. We also hope to invite in more contributors to share their experiences. This could take a variety of formats (writing, video, social media), building & sharing resources, and supporting awareness activities around mental health.

3. Community spaces: The facilitators have benefitted from a space to share our stories and support each other. We're looking into ways that we can broaden that space to include more people and help people connect who would like support.

  • Donations: We donated a portion of funds received during our initial sessions to Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression Foundation.

  • VC Store: We've partnered with VC Ultimate (who provided the design for our logo), and they have opened a store with TFTUT logo. 15% of commission will be going to Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression. Visit the store here.

  • Social Media: Twitter & Instagram @Time4UltiTalk

  • Questions? timefortheultimatetalk @ gmail [dot] com

Why is it Time for the Ultimate Talk?

This group was created by Ari Nelson (author of "You Think You Know Me but You Don't") to continue the conversation about mental health and trauma in the ultimate community. For us, it is our personal histories. For some, it may be a loved one. For others, even if these issues aren't close to home, it is likely you know someone with a history of mental health or trauma who hasn't talked about it.

Since these issues impact all of us, we are moving forward two beliefs and a hope to organize our work:

  • Belief 1: Each individual has the right to disclose or refrain from disclosing their medical history and experience with trauma.

  • Belief 2: You likely know someone who has mental health issues and/or has experienced trauma.

  • A Hope: We all come to ultimate hoping to care for our teammates, our competitors, and others we meet through the sport and beyond.

What do we hope for?

Based on these beliefs and a hope, Ari called together others from the ultimate community to take action (for more about the contributors, see bios below). Through these guided conversations, Time for the Ultimate Talk will begin with three sessions that include the following goals:

  • Provide those who want to support others with a basic understanding of trauma and ideas on how to respond to someone who shares distress

  • Discuss the social norms around accountability

  • Ideas for how to prepare yourself with knowledge and how teams can prepare when issues arise

  • Empower those who have felt silenced by biases, stigma, or just a lack of awareness to speak up

We know that this is not the beginning. We know it is not the end. We hope that those who want to have been making change and those who are learning how will join us.

Who is part of Time for the Talk Ultimate?


  • Ari Nelson

  • Kellan Gibboney

  • Kelly Rusin

  • Aman Shah

  • Layne Scherer

  • Emilie Willingham

The organizers would like to note our limitations in speaking to mental health issues and trauma experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, as well as other communities that have been harmed by institutional racism, sexism, and oppression. We believe Black Lives Matter. As we go forward, we are committed to amplifying leaders and voices from the BIPOC community.

Each person has contributed as an individual, and their views do not represent any organizations they are affiliated with.

Ari Nelson

Ari Nelson (she/her/hers) is the founder of this group. She spends her time as a physical trainer for MPFPT, and an undergrad student at Northeastern University studying psychology and gender and sexuality studies. Ari has played on the Northeastern Valkyries, Boston Slow White, the U24 Womxn's Team, and is a part of the Denver Molly Brown 2020 roster. She has been an advocate for mental health for her young adulthood, but recently became an out-spoken advocate after her time in a recovery program in summer of 2020. You can find Ari on Twitter and Instagram @arijade1

Kellan Gibboney

Kellan Gibboney (they/them) spends most of their time coaching youth ultimate (YCCs, Wyoming High School, girs' clinics) in Cincinnati, OH, and volunteering with USA Ultimate as a GUM State Outreach Coordinator and Community Liaison. Prior to a 16+ month recovery from knee surgery, they played with Indy Red, Sparks, and Steamboat. On the professional side, they work for Procter & Gamble in a blended role between packaging engineering and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. You can find Kellan on Twitter and Instagram @kgibbs18.

Kelly Rusin

Kelly Rusin (she/hers) currently lives in Columbus, OH and is a coach of the Sabers (a mixed YCC team) and OSU Fever B as well as previously coaching for Neuqua Valley (high school and YCC team) in Illinois. She additionally works with the Columbus Pride as the team's Community Engagement Coordinator and is a contributor for Ultiworld. Kelly is a coaching facilitator for the state of Ohio through USAU to help prepare ultimate coaches to lead. Kelly is currently working as a field technician and in search of new opportunities. You can connect with her on twitter and instagram @krusin57.

Aman Shah

Aman Shah (he/his) has been a player, coach, and organizer in the DMV and Boston areas for over 10 years. Currently, Aman coaches the MIT Wood Munchers (Open Dev), and is the former coach of District Cocktails (Club Mixed), Georgetown Black Squirrels (Open Dev), and Bedford HS (MA - Open Div II). A champion of team culture, Aman has predominately played Open throughout his competitive Ultimate career, most successfully for Baltimore Runtime. Aman is a PhD candidate at Bentley University, and works as a semi-professional photographer. You can reach him on instagram @aman.m.shah.

Layne Scherer

Layne Scherer (she/hers) has been a leader in ultimate at Catholic University of America (coach), Suffrage (coach & founding player), the AUDL (referee), and Ultiworld (contributor). She lives in Washington, D.C. In her professional life, she is a study director at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with a focus on accountability, diversity, equity, and inclusion in postsecondary education and the workforce. Her current project focuses on mental health, substance use, and well-being in higher education from community colleges through graduate programs. You can connect with her on twitter (@laynescherer) or LinkedIn.

Emilie Willingham

Emilie Willingham (she/hers) is a role player, coach and commentator in the Midwest. She started playing Open at Kirkwood High School in St. Louis and has been playing ever since including a combined 10 years with Chicago Nemesis and Truman State University. In addition to Ultimate, Willie is an advocate for mental health awareness, trauma support and consent culture. Her passion involves integrating mind/body health and in her goal to design a profession that brings mental and physical health into the same practice, with the same practitioner. To learn more about Emilie’s experience with mental health, check out her article Grace Under Pressure: Emilie Willingham’s Mental And Physical Health Journey.
Willie currently lives in Chicago, IL, and she can be reached on twitter (@e_willingham) or Facebook (Emilie Willingham).

TFTUT Finances

Pilot Workshops (3 in Sept.-Oct. 2020)

We received donations raised through two channels: funds raised through our partnership with VC Ultimate and direct contributions. Here is the breakdown:

  • VC Partnership: $252.85

    • 50% ($126.43) raised were donated to Athletes against Depression and Anxiety

    • 50% ($126.42) of the proceeds will support TFTUT's activities*

  • Direct contributions: $885

  • 50% ($442.50) will serve as financial aid to cover filing fees for those reporting sexual harassment cases through USAU

  • 50% ($442.50 + $126.42 from VC = $568.92) will support the development of a resource guide and other operating expenses

Going forward, unless otherwise noted, the proceeds from workshops and the college team consulting will cover fees to pay facilitators and contributors for their time and expertise.

Free Support Resources Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year

Disclaimer: The contributors to Time for the Ultimate Talk are not licensed to provide mental health care. If you or someone you care about it is in a life-threatening situation, please reference one of the national resources below to seek help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides support to those who are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support.

  • Phone (English) 1-800-273-8255

  • Phone (Español) 1-888-628-9454

  • Phone (Deaf or Hard of hearing): 1-800-799-4889

  • Phone (Veteran crisis line): 1-800-273-8255 or text 838255

  • Phone (Disaster crisis line for people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters): 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746

  • Online: Chat (English)

  • Online: Chat for veterans

National Sexual Assault Hotline will connect you with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Hotline is treatment referral and information service for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

  • Phone (English/ Español options available): 1-800-662-4357/HELP)

The Trevor Project is a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

  • Phone the TrevorLifeline (English): 1-866-488-7386

  • Online: TrevorChat (English)

  • Text START to 678-678 to connect with support (standard texting rates apply)