The Athletes Connected Newsletter: April 2018

Each quarter we will share updates surrounding our program and other student-athlete mental health initiatives. This issue features the last video in our injury and mental health series, as well as an accompanying first-person piece about career-ending injury. We also put spotlights on other initiatives from around the country and share some thought leadership pieces from the Michigan athletic community. 
Injury and Mental Health Video Series
For student-athletes, injury may come with several struggles that affect their mental health such as feeling isolated, questioning their identity, or losing confidence.

Arielle Sanders

In the final installment of this video series, former rower and co-captain, Arielle Sanders, details how her recurring injury made her feel isolated and flooded with negative thoughts. The injury forced her to medically retire, but she found a way to still lead her team as a student coach. [ See Arielle's Story ]

"I was scared and embarrassed to ask for help" -- Arielle Sanders
Thought Leadership
Members of our Athletes Connected community have shared their expertise and stories on our website through first-person stories, Q&As, blogs and analysis. 

It's Time to Make Mental Health Policy a Priority

"Mental health policy is designed to equip individuals with tools to navigate the stresses of everyday life, to provide resources for those with mental illness, and to raise awareness with the goal of eradicating existing stigmas surrounding the topic." -- Michael Hendrickson

In January, former University of Michigan baseball player and former SAAC president, Michael Hendrickson, described why mental health policy should be a priority and why student-athletes need to be part of the conversation.   [ Read More ]
Q&A: Ben Flanagan

"I think the importance of mental health is becoming more recognized in the student-athlete community, and coaches, athletic staff and faculty members also seem to be becoming more accommodating."
- Ben Flanagan

In continuation of our Q&A series, U-M runner Ben Flanagan shares how he believes we are shifting in the right direction for student-athlete mental health, but how more education and support networks would be helpful.   [ Read More ]
Mental Health Wellness Plays a Role in Beilein's Championship Success

"I want [students] to know: you are not alone. Everyone has similar issues, even coaches. It is all a part of life and you can manage it."
- John Beilein

Head men's basketball coach, John Beilein, has proven how supporting a student-athlete's mental wellbeing promotes a winning culture. Before leading his team to the national championship game, Coach Beilein shared how he breaks down the stigma of mental health.  [ Read More ]
The Pain of Retirement

"I did not quit. I retired."
- Sarah Skurla

Capping off our injury series, University of Michigan School of Public Health graduate and former collegiate golfer, Sarah Skurla, chronicles the isolation she felt retiring from her sport and the path she took to finding a new identity.  [ Read More ]
Lunch with Brandon Marshall
As part of a series of mental health events on campus, Athletes Connected hosted New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He shared his story of mental health and encouraged student-athletes to change the culture around mental health. A survey of the event showed an overwhelming positive response to the talk itself, a likelihood to attend similar events in the future, and an awareness of the importance of mental health. [ See More ]
Spotlight: Other Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiatives
Own Your Roar

Driven by her personal struggles with depression and anxiety, Towson University gymnast, Olivia Lubarsky, created the "Own Your Roar" campaign to bring mental health awareness and advocacy to student-athletes.  [ Read More ]
Encouraging Healthy Body Image 
at Central Michigan      

As part of mental health week, Central Michigan University students spread a message about self-love and positive body image with a photo campaign on social media.  [ Read More ]
Athletes Connected is a partnership between the University of Michigan Depression Center, School of Public Health, and Athletic Department.