By Eddie Diaz
In an effort to combat the widespread stigma associated with mental illness, the University of Michigan has launched Athletes Connected, a project that aims to support student athletes as they deal with mental health issues.
After receiving the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant for funding in March, the U of M assembled a team of faculty from its School of Public Health, Depression Center and Athletic Department, to lead the project.
Daniel Eisenberg, associate professor of Health Management and Policy in the School of Public Health and Population Studies Center, said he was happy to see the NCAA get involved and help fund the costs for the program.
“I had never thought about the NCAA as a potential source for research funding,” Eisenberg said. “I wasn’t aware that they were looking at this issue and [were] interested in funding projects in this area. It was a nice discovery.”
Athletes Connected has been introduced at the college in the hopes of changing or reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness and to encourage student athletes to seek help for any issues they may be struggling with.
Athletes who feel more comfortable in group settings can seek help among their peers in the drop-in support groups Athletes Connected will offer.