*Released with permission of Horizon League*
Indianapolis – The Horizon League, in conjunction with its Board of Directors, announced this week a historic $550,000 investment of league resources to address mental health issues at every Horizon League organization.
“Our student-athletes are often more prone to mental health concerns than the average college student. They must successfully balance rigorous academic schedules with challenging athletic responsibilities. However, they outperform the average college student in both class and sports” stated the Oakland President and Horizon League Chairman of the Board, Dr. Aura Peskovitz.
“I am proud that the Horizon League has chosen to designate League funds for each of our universities to provide funding to ensure our student-athletes have access to first-class mental health services to ensure they continue to succeed in all of their endeavors.”
“Horizon League SAAC and our campus leaders have clearly articulated the need and priority to address the mental health needs of our student-athletes. This is the league’s third major initiative aimed at addressing the mental health concerns of our student-athletes. In 2016, we convened Student-Athlete Development Forum and 2020, we had to turn it into a virtual video series.” “Now, we are committing the financial resources of the university with the full support of our presidents and advisors to amplify our campus efforts to address the mental health and overall development of our student-athletes through this grant program.”
In June, the Horizon League Board of Directors approved strategic mental health spending of League resources for distribution to universities to help address mental health issues and concerns.
Through discussions with various membership groups, including the Horizon League Council, Student and Athlete Development Cabinet, and Student-Athlete Safety and Health (SASH) Sub-Cabinet, a grant program was developed to allow each campus to identify and address its own specific mental health concerns. student athletes.
SASH President and Youngstown State Associate commented: “We are excited about the mental health grant being offered to each institution. After the talks, it became clear that each campus has unique needs and challenges, and this grant makes it possible to address those needs.” Sports Medicine Athletic Director Jen Timkiw. “We look forward to recognizing the positive impact this funding has on the wellbeing of our student-athletes and are grateful for the support of Commissioner Roe Lach, the Board of Directors, and the Board.”
Approved applications provided funding going directly toward student-athlete counseling sessions; educational programming and training for student-athlete coaches and staff, such as mental health first aid and resilience training; along with other initiatives, such as providing dedicated student-athlete spaces to rest and recover.
The Purdue Fort Wayne scholarship will go towards topical and related workshops and training opportunities, as well as mental health team building. Workshops and trainings for example will focus on reinforcing specific areas such as managing stress and improving or building on other coping skills. Mental health team building exercises will provide a deeper dive into the needs of individual teams. Teams and individual coaches will have the opportunity to tailor team building exercises to meet their needs.
As part of the application process, institutions were required to not only address how the program or initiative addresses mental health concerns on campus, but were also required to include student-athletes in the grant application creation and planning process.
“Mental health is a very important issue for student-athletes today and I am grateful that the association developed this grant program and also included student-athletes as part of the process to determine the best way to utilize funding on each campus,” he stated. Horizon League SAAC President and RMU Men’s Soccer Student-Athlete Michael Zolnierczyk. “I look forward to seeing the positive impact the scholarship has on student-athletes in the Horizon League.”
In addition, universities were required to submit their sustainability plans to continue providing mental health support to student-athletes after the one-time grant program ends.
Institutions will also be required to submit a final review of mental health programs and initiatives, which will include a statement on how the program/initiative proceeded, how it achieved or did not achieve the stated goal(s), what feedback they received and what went well or what they would do differently.
Information from review forms will be shared with multiple membership groups as a way to share information between institutions on how best to serve the mental health needs of student-athletes.
~I feel the rumble~