Oklahomans working to destigmatize mental health struggles will be recognized during Dodgers games; First honoree Tony Stelter to be honored Friday

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Dodgers are partnering with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) this season to help #StrikeOutTheStigma and increase awareness on the topic of mental health in our community.

The partnership focuses on education, advocacy and support to help destigmatize the connotations that come with mental health struggles. Oklahomans who are working to do so will be recognized throughout the 2022 Dodgers baseball season.

The first honoree of 2022 is Tony Stelter, director of recovery support for ODMHSAS who leads the organization’s planning, development and administrative aspects of consumer advocacy and recovery support services. He also uses his personal experiences with recovery to help others facing similar battles. Stelter will be recognized during the Dodgers’ game against the Round Rock Express at 7:05 p.m. Friday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

“Through our partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, we want to help raise awareness on the topic of mental health by talking openly about the subject and providing educational resources,” OKC Dodgers President/General Manager Michael Byrnes said. “By sharing the personal stories of Oklahomans who have been impacted by, or work to provide, mental health services in our community, we want to help strike out the stigma and provide support to our fellow Oklahomans.”

Stelter, who lives in Moore, is a licensed professional counselor who also identifies as a person in recovery.

Stelter holds a master’s degree in human relations from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma.

He credits his son Ethan with saving his life.

Before Ethan was born, Stelter became addicted to opiates. He saw it as an escape from encountering unwanted negative feelings that stemmed from major depressive disorder and low self-worth. With Ethan on the way, Stelter tried to quit unsuccessfully on numerous occasions.

The path of self-destruction continued until it reached his lowest point and Stelter attempted to overdose, taking painkillers and some over-the-counter medication. Luckily, he survived. He wanted to be a father for Ethan, but knew he had a way to go.

“When Ethan was born it was one of the best days of my life,” Stelter said. “I loved him oh so much, but I hadn’t learned to love myself.”

He went on to receive intensive outpatient treatment and later started working for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services in the Children’s Recovery Center.

“If it wasn’t for the services like we have at the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, I wouldn’t be here today,” he said.

To read Stelter’s full story, visit the OKC Dodgers’ “Beyond the Bricks” website at: medium.com/beyond-the-bricks. Photos of Stelter are attached for use (credit: OKC Dodgers).

The OKC Dodgers are in the midst of a six-game home series against the Round Rock Express at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark that continues tonight and Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Upcoming promotional highlights include:

Friday, June 24 – 7:05 p.m.: Gates open at 6 p.m. and the first 1,000 guests will receive an OKC Dodgers water bottle. Stelter will be recognized on the field during the game.

Braum’s Friends & Family 4-Packs are available that include four tickets, four hats and four Braum’s restaurant vouchers. Friday Night Fireworks are then scheduled to follow the game.

Saturday, June 25 – 7:05 p.m.: The third INTEGRIS “Health Home Run For Life” honoree of the season will be recognized prior to Saturday’s game. Also before the game, Oklahoma City Community College President Mautra Staley Jones, Ed.D., is scheduled to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. Jones began her tenure March 1, 2022 and is the first woman and also the first person of color to lead OCCC.

Saturday is a Future Dodgers Night and youth baseball and softball teams in uniform are invited to participate in a pregame parade on the field. Game tickets for groups of 10 or more include a souvenir OKC Dodgers hat. Saturday is also a Braum’s Friends and Family Night, allowing groups of 10 or more people to receive a game ticket, OKC Dodgers hat and a Braum’s restaurant voucher that can be redeemed at any Oklahoma Braum’s location, starting at just $13 each.

Sunday, June 26 – 2:05 p.m.: Following the conclusion of the game, kids can take the field to run the bases like their favorite pros.

Tickets can be purchased through okcdodgers.com/tickets. For general information or inquiries, please visit okcdodgers.com or call (405) 218-2182. Live radio coverage of each OKC Dodgers game begins 15 minutes before first pitch on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com and through the free iHeartRadio or MiLB First Pitch apps. All OKC Dodgers games are also available streamed live on MiLB.TV with a subscription.