BELGRADE — As a senior in high school, Jarom Rogers faced a curve ball of getting cut from the basketball team despite having the skill and drive to play at the highest level.
His mental health suffered as a result, but he soon channeled the energy he once put into sports into creating a clothing brand centered on bettering the mental health of athletes, and it helped lift him up as a result as well.
The name of his brand represents the movement he's starting, and it's called “Protect Your Peace.”
“For me to lose basketball, I was like who is Jarom Rogers if he doesn’t have basketball in his life?" Rogers explained.
"And so, it took me a while, but then I was like, yo, I can channel all of my energy I was putting into sports into something to have more of an impact, and that’s where the clothing brand aspect came into it.”
But for him, the clothes aren't what drives him. It's all about using his platform he's building to better the mental health among athletes in the community.
“My goal, I’m not trying to sell clothes, I’m selling a message, you know, and spreading a message," Rogers said.
"When people think about Jarom Rogers, I want them to think about ‘Protect Your Peace,’ and mental health. I want them to think about the positives.”
Rogers had several different options for what he should name his brand, but 'Protect Your Peace' fit the most with the message he was trying to get across.
“My whole life I was trying to make coaches happy," he explained. "I was trying to make my parents happy. I was just trying to make everybody else happy besides myself, and so when I got cut and basketball was taken away from me, it kind of made me sit down and realize I need to be doing stuff for me."
And that's where the name for the brand was coined.
"I need to be protecting my peace," Rogers said. "And I need to be doing what makes me happy. I shouldn’t be so focused on others’ perspective of me, and I should be more focused on myself.”
Going from being an athlete to an entrepreneur is a big jump, but his friends and family knew he could do it.
“When he told me about it, I was just like, if it’s going to be anyone it’s Jarom," Rogers' friend, Diego Casas, said. "If anyone’s going to be successful at it, it’s going to be Jarom.”
Suicide and depression are a leading cause of death among men. Rogers can be seen using the brand's social media platforms to specifically end the stigma around mental health when it comes to men who suffer from the impacts.
“For the first week, people are like, 'Oh, I’m so sorry, let me know if you need anything,'" Rogers said, referring to when he was cut from the basketball team. "But at some point it stops, and I was still hurting. And so, I don’t want others to feel the way I did, and I know people are still going to, but I want to give them a platform to where they can get help if they want to."
"I want them to know they’re not the only person going through it, and it will be okay, because times got really rough, you know," Rogers continued. "It was hard.”
Casas mirrored Roger's message about how hard it can be as a man to talk about mental health.
“There’s too many men going through things, and they just feel like they can’t speak up about it because of the stigma around, ‘just be man, work through it,’ and it’s just like no, we got to start talking about it," Casas said.
Rogers' brand quickly took over the community of athletes in Montana. Many high school and college athletes sported the brand around their school and community.
“It was amazing," Casas explained. "Just seeing people not trying to tear it down was just amazing. Seeing people be like, 'Okay, yeah, I rock with this.' It felt good. I felt proud for him.”
Casas is a recent graduate from Belgrade High School, where he was able to see Rogers' message spread around through the community and school.
And for Rogers, that's his "why."
People in the community knowing they're not alone.
“I’m excited to wake up, spread my message, work on clothing, and all the support I’ve gotten has made it that much better, you know," Rogers explained. "I never would have guessed it would’ve gone this well this fast, you know.”
His final sentiment took him his whole playing career to realize, but he hopes more athletes are able to take the notion in before they reach a low point in their mental health while playing.
“In a couple of years you’re not going to remember winning, you’re going to remember how you feel, and so that’s my biggest goal," Rogers explained. "It’s to spread that message of you’re not alone, you can get help, protect your peace, do what makes you happy."
"You don’t have to put yourself through torture to make some coach happy to play five more minutes than you would if you were to protect your own peace and be happy with your sport, you know.”
For more information on the brand, head to their website.