Welcome to the first Athletes Connected newsletter

Each quarter we will share updates surrounding our program and other student-athlete mental health initiatives. This issue features Athletes Connected updates, NCAA champion Jaimie Phelan, the inaugural Big East Mental Health Summit, and describes student-athlete mental health initiatives at other institutions. 
Athletes Connected Updates
Relaunch of Program Website

Athletes Connected re-launched its program website in April to better serve its key audiences of student-athletes, coaches, support staff, researchers, family and friends.

The user-friendly website has simplified navigation, expanded topics and resources, and a more visual appeal. The site hosts a library of video features and tutorials that have been viewed over 25,000 times, while also introducing a new section that promotes relevant stories and original content. If you are interested in sharing your story, please contact Lizelle Salazar for more information.
Featured Video: Life After Athletics
"If I am no longer a student-athlete, what is my identity?"

That is a question that Ashley Cohagen, a former swimmer for the University of Michigan, found herself asking as she prepared to enter nursing school. It is a question that many student-athletes ask themselves when they are faced with transitioning out of their athletic career, yet it is a story often left untold. This transition may stem from a loss of passion, an injury, or simply a desire to move on. Whatever the reason it can sometimes feel overwhelming. [ Watch Here ]
Influence of Mood & Mental Health on Academic Performance

Over a 12-week period, 43 student-athletes at University of Michigan participated in a study completing brief weekly surveys regarding their mental health and athletic and academic performance. They also completed twice-daily reports of mood and performance during a two-week period. We found that self-reported mood and mental health correlated significantly with self-reported athletic performance, both on a weekly and daily level.
Featured News
From Last to First

On June 10, U-M student-athlete and active member of the Athletes Connected Campus Advisory board, Jaimie Phelan, went from last to first over the final 400 meters to claim the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championships title at 1,500 meters. Phelan is the first Michigan woman to win this title. Phelan won in 4:13.78 by .02 of a second. This is the second-closest race in the event's history at the NCAAs.

In addition to being a champion on the track, Jaimie has been a champion for student-athlete mental health. Before winning the championship, she was featured in an Athletes Connected video on mindful self-compassion. In the video she shares how she used mindful self-compassion to make a healthy comeback against negative thoughts and feelings.
"Using mindful self-compassion, reaching out to friends and family, and telling myself that this may be where I am meant to be in life right now, but it doesn't mean this is where I am meant to stay, has helped me enormously with dealing with injuries and difficult life situations" 
Jaimie Phelan

SwimSwam, USA Today College Spotlight Athletes Connected

Emily Klueh, Athletes Connected Program Coordinator, was interviewed by SwimSwam.com and USA Today College. Klueh provided an overview of Athletes Connected, highlighting the effectiveness of the program, while providing context to what the program supports and how it is a leader for the student-athlete mental health initiative.

Spotlight: Other Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiatives
Big East Mental Health Summit

The Big East Conference held its inaugural Mental Health Summit June 15-16 in Washington, D.C. All stakeholders in the push for student-athlete mental health awareness were there including industry leaders, athletic trainers, NCAA representatives, and the Big East Student-Athlete Athletic Committee, with many citing the need to prioritize the de-stigmatization of mental health issues.

Chamique Holdsclaw, an All-American at the University of Tennessee, two-time winner of the Naismith Player of the Year award, No. 1 WNBA draft pick, and now mental health advocate, was a special guest at the mental health summit speaking on her personal struggles with mental illness. This past January, Holdsclaw was invited by the Athletes Connected team for a screening and Q&A of her 2015 documentary, "Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw."

"I just know a lot of people suffer in silence, and I've got to step up." 
Chamique Holdsclaw

Initiatives at Princeton

A unique approach to promote help-seeking, Princeton University's Student-Athlete Wellness Leaders (SAWLs) program trains varsity student-athletes to notice and respond to peer student-athletes in need of support and refer them to the appropriate resources. 
Hope Happens Here

NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members Danny Divis and Justin McKenzie from Saint Michael's College are advocating for mental health awareness among student-athletes through an initiative they call " Hope Happens Here." They are promoting mental health awareness by creating educational documents, fundraising, and visiting schools and other avenues in their local community. Divis and McKenzie received the Hockey Humanitarian Award in recognition of their efforts. Read more about their efforts.
Athletes Connected is a partnership between the University of Michigan Depression Center, School of Public Health, and Athletic Department.