The Athletes Connected Newsletter: April 2020

Each quarter we share updates surrounding our program and other student-athlete mental health initiatives. This issue features original stories from Athletes Connected and U-M Athletics Counseling Team staff about the COVID-19 pandemic along with some selected mental health spotlights from across the country.
An Athlete's Guide to Coping During
the COVID-19 Pandemic
The 2020 Coronavirus pandemic has left many of us with mixed emotions as classes move online, seasons end abruptly, and we transition to a new temporary normal. While we can’t address everything that a student-athlete is feeling at this moment, we can provide some general tips that may help one cope with this unique situation. [ Read More ]

“We encourage you to practice social distancing, but don't remain socially distant. Stay in touch with your family and friends.”
The New Perspective: Adapting to Isolation
Know that, as an athlete, you are already very skilled in adapting and persevering through difficulty. Dr. Nick Velissaris, Athletics Counseling Team neuropsychologist, provides some strategies to adapt to physical distancing.

“Feeling anxious or overwhelmed?
Here's some self-talk:
  • 'This is happening to everybody'
  • 'This is temporary'
  • 'We compete against others'
  • 'Same as it was before isolation.'
Effective Learning Strategies Away from the Classroom
Your school has likely introduced virtual learning. In a lot of cases, the changes to online education and isolation do not allow for our preferred study routine. Dr. Velissaris shares how to create an optimum learning environment at home. [ Read More ]

“Breaking up study time with breaks not only makes it easier to refocus attention, but it increases efficiency in learning. Break options can be limited in isolation, but are still needed."

Nearly all (98%) of the University of Michigan student-athletes that responded to our survey disagreed, in most cases strongly disagreed, with the statement:

“I would think less of someone who has received mental health treatment.”
Athletes opening up to discussing mental health issues
The Detroit Free Press had an in-depth feature written in February about mental health and suicide in athletics and how it might affect schools in Michigan. Athletes Connected’s Will Heininger was featured prominently as were administrators from other Michigan colleges and the NCAA’s chief medical officer Brian Hainline.
Texas Tech Provides Mindfulness App
to All Student-Athletes
As part of their wellness week launch, Texas Tech Athletics partnered with Headspace to provide its mindfulness app for their student-athletes and full-time athletics department employees.

University of New England Hosts “The Hidden Opponent: Mental Health and the Student Athlete”
As part of a larger conversation around mental health for UNE student-athletes, former USC volleyball player, Victoria Garrick, discussed her struggles with mental health as an athlete for the top-ranked team in the nation.

  • NCAA released a memo recommending daily strategies to manage your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ATHLETES CONNECTED | University of Michigan