Converse teams up with The Ben Raemers Foundation to Destigmatise the Topic of Mental Health
This coming May marks two years since the skateboard community lost the wonderful Ben Raemers. Ben, who rode for Converse, died of suicide and as a way of combatting the stigma around mental health issues within the global skateboarding community and industry, Ben’s family founded The Ben Raemers Foundation. The Ben Raemers Foundation is a charity that is dedicated to destigmatising the topic of mental health in the skateboard community. The collective sense of loss in the international skateboarding community motivated Converse to partner with The Ben Raemers Foundation in order to help provide resources for mental health support across skateboarding. The partnership also seeks to maintain Raemers’ legacy.
As a part of their commitment to destigmatising the topic of mental health in the skateboard community, Converse is donating $25,000 to the Ben Raemers Foundation and the suicide education and prevention training organisation LivingWorks. The goal of this action is to not only educate the members of the global Converse CONS skate team on the topic of mental health, but also to provide tools and services to the entire skateboarding community. Converse in turn, hopes this will enable skateboarders to speak up and look out for each other with regards to mental health.
On the 14th of May 2021, Converse are releasing a limited edition One Star Mid. The One Star Mid was Ben’s favourite silhouette. Working with The Ben Raemers Foundation, the shoe will have a special addition to it as a way to honour Ben’s legacy. The signature navy blue shoe features a detailing of Ben’s head on the lateral heel. The symbolism of the colour scheme and the detailing on the heel is accompanied by white contrast stitching and a white star logo on the midfoot of the shoe. The unique heel badge helps to nicely piece together the sentimental shoe.
Converse also asked me to give a small insight into how attitudes to mental health are shifting here in London. From a personal standpoint, I was unlucky to never have properly met Ben. Everyone I know who was friends, knew or even just skated with Ben once or twice has said that he treated everyone like they were his best mate. Everyone was equal to Ben. Everybody in the skate community here in London misses Ben. However, this united sense of loss has inspired our community to not only honour Ben’s legacy (via such actions as renaming ‘Victoria Skate Park’ in East London to ‘The Ben Raemers Park’) but to also destigmatise issues around mental health by simply talking. Within my group of friends the topic of mental health is no longer a taboo subject – this is also the case with many other groups of skaters. This newfound openness has helped many of us (myself included) get through hard times especially over the pandemic. I believe it is thanks to the efforts of The Ben Raemers Foundation to destigmatise the topic of mental health issues that this has been able to happen. However, there is still more that needs to be done within the skateboarding community to fully wipe out the stigma around mental health but progress is happening and attitudes towards mental health are changing rapidly for the greater good.
Look out on May 14th, two years to the day since Ben’s passing, for the new One Star Mid. The shoe will be available as www.Converse.com and other select retailers.
For additional information about The Ben Raemers Foundation please visit: https://benraemersfoundation.com/
For insight into suicide prevention training visit:
If you or anyone you know requires mental health support or counselling, please seek https://www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlinesfor helpful resources.