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Big Ten Conference Announces Mental Health Initiatives

From a Big Ten release.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Big Ten Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet formed as part of comprehensive, holistic approach

Big Ten Conference provides unlimited access to Calm mental fitness app for all Big Ten student-athletes, coaches, full-time members of university athletic departments and Big Ten Conference staff

ROSEMONT, ILL. – The Big Ten Conference formally announced today, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, the formation of the Big Ten Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet, which includes representatives from all 14 Big Ten institutions, as well as sport affiliate members Johns Hopkins (women’s and men’s lacrosse) and Notre Dame (men’s hockey). In conjunction with today’s announcement, the Big Ten Conference is pleased to share that all Big Ten student-athletes, coaches, full-time members of university athletic departments and conference staff members will receive free, unlimited access to Calm, the No. 1 mental fitness app for helping individuals experience lower stress, less anxiety, improved focus and more restful sleep.

“When I was hired as the Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, a core pillar of my vision was to make sure that we educate, embrace, engage and empower our more than 9,500 student-athletes. This is a complex and stressful time in our society and the mental health and wellness of our Big Ten family is a critical component of our focus,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. “The Cabinet will be instrumental for us both short and long term, as we pursue our goal of creating and maintaining the most comprehensive mental health and wellness platform in college athletics.”

“Our hope is that the Calm mental fitness app will provide an immediate resource for all Big Ten student-athletes, coaches, athletic department staff members and conference staff during these unprecedented times and is only the first of many steps that we will take in the area of mental health and wellness. We are fortunate to have so many professionals on our campuses who have dedicated their lives to tackling mental health issues. We were driven to supplement their inspiring work with additional resources, important under normal circumstances, but even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Cabinet was established in December 2019 by Commissioner Warren to promote optimal mental health for student-athletes and is comprised of 31 individuals representing a wide range of disciplines, including mental health educators, medical doctors, faculty athletic representatives and senior woman administrators. These industry leaders will take a comprehensive, systemic and interdisciplinary approach to establishing mental health programs, while also providing counsel, advice and expertise to the conference office.

“I think the work the Big Ten Conference is doing with regard to mental health initiatives is incredibly important,” Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day said. “Forming a Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet is a reflection of the conference’s leadership, engagement and support for mental health initiatives. These efforts will help bring much-needed attention and awareness to the subject of mental health.”

Calm is the world’s No. 1 app for mental fitness, with more than 100 hours of original audio content on topics ranging from anxiety to stress, gratitude, sleep and more. Calm has been named Apple’s 2017 App of the Year and a Google Play Editor’s Choice in 2018. Calm’s two most popular content offerings are its Daily Calm (new daily 10-minute meditation) and its Sleep Stories (bedtime stories for grown-ups).

“The Big Ten Conference continues to be a leader and trailblazer in developing initiatives to enhance the student-athlete experience. The formation of the Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet and the accompanying resources demonstrates that,” said Brenda Frese, Maryland women’s basketball head coach. “Commissioner Warren has stated from the very beginning of his tenure the importance he places on mental health awareness and that focus of helping our student-athletes is at the forefront of his vision. At Maryland, Damon Evans has been in lockstep in supporting our student-athletes and these initiatives. As a head coach, we are talking and interacting with our student-athletes daily and helping them is a top priority, so I am pleased the Big Ten has placed such an importance on mental health.”

“We need to start with the new Commissioner having the vision and the wherewithal to request that we try to do something that’s never been done – looking at taking care of the student-athlete and seeing them as a whole person. That is a major shift. I have never heard anything like it,” said Michigan Executive Associate Athletic Director and Cabinet member Greg Harden. “I have never heard a commissioner talk about it more than Kevin Warren has. This changes the game – having that type of leadership at that type of level. This was all pre-COVID-19. We started collaborating and examining best practices, examining how to work together, how to make sure there was integrity in the exchanges, how to build trust and go beyond the competitive rituals of being in sports. To be able to hear the best from our colleagues in our conference — it was a common commitment to an agenda that went beyond who is going to win the next game. We are in the business of developing people, intervening, solving issues, and pushing forth success.”

The membership of the Big Ten Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet can be found below:

SCHOOLNAMETITLE
IllinoisRandy BallardAssoc. AD, Sports Medicine/Director of Integrated Performance
Dr. Tiffany WhiteAssoc. Professor of Business Admin./Bruce and Anne Strohm Faculty Fellow
IndianaDr. Troy MolesDirector of Counseling and Sport Psychology
Mattie WhiteSWA/Sr. Assoc. AD for Academic Services and Excellence Academy
IowaDr. Aubrette KinneEmbedded Staff Psychologist – Department of Athletics
Dr. Lisa WoodroffeClinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Johns HopkinsErin LongDirector of Sport Performance & Wellness
Elizabeth WinberryDirector of Student Outreach and Support
MarylandDr. Michelle GarvinDirector of Clinical and Sports Psychology
Dr. Sue SherburneSWA/Sr. Assoc. AD, Academics & Student Development
MichiganAbigail EilerClinical Assistant Professor of Social Work
Greg HardenExecutive Assoc. AD
Michigan StateDr. Anthony AvellinoAsst. Provost, Student Wellness, Health and Safety/HealthTeam Chief Medical Officer
Alan HallerDeputy Athletic Director
MinnesotaDr. Carly AndersonDirector of Sport Psychology Services
Joi ThomasSr. Assoc. AD, Health & Performance
NebraskaDr. Brett HaskellDirector of Sport Psychology
Dr. Brett WoodsAssistant Director of Sport Psychology
NorthwesternDr. Courtney AlbinsonAssoc. Director, Sport Psychology
Dr. Jeff MjaanesDirector of Sports Medicine/Head Team Physician
Notre DameDr. Joey RamaekerCounseling & Sport Psychologist
Dr. Niki SimsAsst. Director for Clinical Sport Psychology & Sport Psychologist
Ohio StateDr. Chelsi DaySport Psychologist
Dr. James HouleLead Sport Psychologist
Penn StateDr. Natalie Hernandez DePalmaAsst. Director, Clinical Services
Dr. Carl OhlsonAsst. AD, Performance Psychology
PurdueDr. Kelsey DawsonSports Psychologist
Dr. Brad FoltzSports Psychologist
RutgersDr. Joshua BershadChief Medical Officer
Dr. Peter EconomouAssoc. Professor, Program Director, Applied Psychology
WisconsinDr. Cassie PasquarielloDirector of Clinical and Sports Psychology

3 Responses

  1. IF the experts tell the addicted to ‘check themselves into rehab’… who would be left to right the addicted?

  2. Very good thing to have and long overdue..credit Ryan Day getting the ball rollling

    1. DEPT OF ME 2
      Office of Good & Other Intentions
      Trash Can of Histery

      Rather… whenever i feel I “have”, or ‘have to have it’… haven’t i, regardless of my intentions… ‘lost it’? So i go from ‘can anything possibly go wrong’ …to… ‘i did nothing wrong’… to… a ‘giant leap for beast-kind, a small step for modestly better than you humans….

      Gee, i’m only missing… the Premise.

      ;-{)}

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