The Summer 2021 Newsletter

Athletes Connected produces a newsletter each quarter to share updates surrounding program initiatives, stories and other athlete mental health notices. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a friend, supporter, donor or otherwise signed up for our messages. [ See past newsletters ]
A Game-Changer for Mental Health: Sports Icons Open Up
A pair of Athletes Connected program staffers spoke with the U-M Health Blog about how sports icons like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles are shedding new light on mental health in athletics. In the story, Will Heininger and Stephanie Salazar of the Eisenberg Family Depression Center lend their expertise and past experiences. [ Read More ]

"The generational difference is one of the things that gives me the most hope about the future – for all of society, not just athletes. The idea of ‘not knowing about depression or anxiety’ seems so foreign to them; they are consistently surprised, even shocked, to learn that ‘not knowing’ was the norm, very recently, as well as for all of history before that."
-- Will Heininger, Athletes Connected

"We're not just entertainment. We're humans, and there are things going on behind the scenes that we're also trying to juggle with as well."

When Your Career Ends, What to Do
with Your Athletic Identity
A question many don't have answered when the competition ends is, "what's next?" Dr. Jeff Porter, U-M Director of Student-Athlete Alumni Relations, is a former Olympian and Michigan track & field star, who helps with that answer. Needless to say, Dr. Porter understands athletic identity. Dr. Porter breaks down his experience with athletic identity, and shares his wisdom about transitioning out of one’s career in sports. [ Read More ]

"The point is that athletics does not define your identity. It is simply something you do. As I have learned, I am much more than an athlete."
-- Dr. Jeff Porter
Emily in Tokyo!
Emily Klueh, LMSW, has worn many hats over the years.

She was an NCAA champion and school record holder while swimming at Michigan, helped launch the Athletes Connected Program, and now serves as a Paralympic Mental Health Officer, which will bring her to Tokyo for the Paralympic Games this August. In her role as a Mental Health Officer, Emily helps elite athletes care for their minds, as well as their bodies.

Emily will send updates, via @Aths_Connected twitter account, as the Games run August 24 until September 5.
Mental Health Awareness Month Recap
Athletes Connected partnered with SoHo Youth Club in May, for Mental Health Awareness Month. SYC’s mission is to provide experience, opportunity, and education to youth from underserved communities. The goals were to raise awareness and reduce stigma around mental health, as well as raise funds for mental health programming and education.

Later in the month, Athletes Connected’s Abigail Eiler and Will Heininger joined SYC’s roundtable discussion. The roundtable was attended by representatives from each mental health initiative who partnered with SYC during May, including NFL players Deatrich Wise, Jr. and Doug Middleton. 
Handling Grief & Loss
There is no right way to handle grief. Athletes Connected program coordinator Rachel Amity lays out what you might already know--grieving is extremely difficult and your feelings are valid. [ Read More ]

Maggie Bettez, 2018 U-M field hockey captain, shares a positive coping skill that helps her move from one play to the next, regardless of the outcome.
  • Since the launch of Athletes Connected in 2014, the program has produced 15 videos, including personal stories, coping skills and features. Overall, these films have been seen over 400,000 times. [ Watch Them All Here ]
Black Student-Athlete Summit
Mental health is a major focus at the Black Student-Athlete Summit. A three-day annual event for student-athletes, coaches, administrators, and professors, the BSAS is the only event of its kind that caters to holistic development of the Black Student-Athlete. Panelists educate and encourage attendees to be more proactive in speaking about mental health, and discuss the role of mental wellness in the Black Student-Athlete The 2022 Summit will be held in Houston, Jan 5-7, 2022. [ Learn More ]
Youngstown State Student-Athlete Wellness
Youngstown State University’s Student-Athlete Wellness Committee aims to establish and maintain relationships with campus and community resources, in order to promote the health and well-being of its student-athletes. These relationships can be critically important, both so student-athletes know they exist, and know how to connect with the resource(s) if needed. They have also included an anonymous referral system to promote help-seeking. [ Read More ]
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