Next on WPSU’s ‘Digging Deeper:’ College athletics and mental health

Warren says that supporting the mental health and wellness of more than 9,500 student athletes is one of his priorities.

“We have to be smart as a society to make sure we take care of our young people,” Warren said. “We are thoughtful in how we manage our student athletes, and the most important thing is to provide them with resources on campus, where they can go and get the help they need and really grow.”

Warren created the Cabinet of Mental Health and Wellness Big Ten in December 2019 to promote optimal mental health for student-athletes. Composed of 32 individuals representing a wide range of disciplines, it includes mental health educators, clinicians, sports faculty representatives, and senior managers.

In conjunction with Cabinet formation, the Big Ten is providing student-athletes, coaches, full-time members of the university’s athletic departments and conference staff with free and unlimited access to the mental fitness app Calm, which contains over 100 hours of original audio content on topics ranging from anxiety to stress, gratitude, and sleep and so on.

Warren says mental health support from the conference and university leadership of member institutions helped remove the stigma associated with mental health.

“People are now comfortable, not just for themselves, but for others to come forward and say, ‘We need some help,’” he said. “I want our student-athletes to feel comfortable about the way they talk about their recovery from an ACL injury, the same way they can talk about the problems they are dealing with in terms of mental health and wellness.”

In Pennsylvania, all undergraduate and graduate students have access to Psychological and University Counseling Services (CAPS). CAPS offers a wide range of services, including wellness and self-help options; Group, individual and couple counseling; crisis intervention; psychiatric services; Virtual services, community education and outreach services for the university community.

WPSU’s “Digging Deeper” program explores how ongoing work at the university affects the broader community. Penn State senior student Andrew Destin serves as co-host and concludes each episode by asking Barron’s questions that are on the minds of students, faculty, staff, and community members.

Visit the WPSU website for more information about the Central Public Information Station of Pennsylvania.

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