The University of Michigan has received a grant from the NCAA to develop and evaluate a program for supporting mental health initiatives for student-athletes.
Michigan's athletic department is partnering with the school's depression center and school of public health. "Sometimes it's a bit more difficult for student-athletes to seek help because of the norms around sports of being tough and resilient, finding one's own way through problems," said Daniel Eisenberg, an associate professor at the school of public health. "All of those norms can work against seeking help so student-athletes might be more vulnerable to significant mental health problems."
Former Michigan football player Will Heininger, who spoke to the Detroit News recently about his own battle with depression, wants to help bring attention to the issue.
"In the work I've done with athletes across the country, this is a huge issue. It's something that's on their minds constantly with the pressures they face, yet they feel afraid to voice their opinions for fears of judgement, shame or worse, losing their scholarships. In reality, mental health/wellness is a human issue and one that makes the world a better place. I couldn't be more excited to work on this project."
Michigan will present its project results at the NCAA Convention in Washington in January.