Cleveland, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference will host its second annual Mental Health Summit to focus on student well-being on Monday, February 13, at the Cleveland Renaissance Hotel.
The Mental Health Summit, which will be attended by MAC membership and invited guests, will include special guest speakers and consist of interactive workshops on student-athlete mental health issues ranging from identifying problems, discussing solutions and highlighting best practices on member campuses.
At the request of the MAC Council of Student-Athletes (COSA), the Summit will focus on identifying, discussion and treating student-athlete anxiety.
“Anxiety in particular is something that nearly every student-athlete has or will experience, whether it’s anxiety about performance and competition or about school, work, or family,” said senior Miami University field hockey student-athlete, Kelsi White. “It is important that student-athletes know that feeling this way does not make them weak or different, it is far more common than they may think and it’s important to recognize anxiety and learn how to manage and what resources to seek out when it does arise.”
Guest speakers include:
- Dr. Mayur Pandya, University Hospitals
- Evelyn Lorimer, Softball Student-Athlete, Central Michigan University
- Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference Commissioner
The concept of a Mental Health Summit originated from the MAC’s Mental Health Task Force which presented its recommendations at the MAC Joint Council meeting in May, 2015.
“I applaud the efforts of our member institutions and their dedication to ensuring that the student-athlete voice is heard,” said MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher. “Our student-athletes are focused on changing the culture around issues of mental health and our administrators and staff are committed to the “It’s ok to not be ok” initiative begun three years ago by the student-athletes. The membership continues to dedicate resources and provide assistance in the area of mental well-being. There is great work being done and it is due to a tremendous collaborative effort.”
MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher created the MAC Mental Health Task Force in 2013 in order to review and analyze student-athlete mental health and well-being at MAC membership campuses. The MAC Mental Health Task Force, now a standing Student-Athlete Well-Being Committee, presented findings and results to MAC membership in May, 2015, and recommended a three-pronged approach to the mental health issues of students to include proactive actions, best practice recommendations and follow-up protocol with appropriate personnel.
These recommendations mirror the NCAA Mental Health Best Practices that were endorsed by the MAC following the 2016 MAC Mental Health Summit. The MAC Joint Council approved the recommendations and MAC membership has been implementing these recommendations since their endorsement.
The Mental Health Summit also falls as part of the MAC Mental Health Awareness Week, a COSA initiative with support of membership administrations to bring awareness to mental health issues.
“When I first became a MAC Leader, the idea of mental health was initially raised as our student-athlete focus. Our first Mental Health Week at Central Michigan University started with some small tabling events and wearing t-shirts. Now, Mental Health Week expands across our entire community involving all students, staff, faculty, and the local community,” said senior Central Michigan University softball student-athlete, Evelyn Lorimer. “For the MAC, the Mental Health Summit is an awesome way to bring the institutions together for all the student-athlete voices to be heard. I am so excited to see how this initiative continues to grow in the upcoming years. We are at the forefront of the NCAA for making sure that the student-athletes have a voice.”
Founded in 1946, the Mid-American Conference is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships and is one of 10 members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in five states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio.
Current MAC schools and the year they joined are -- East Division: University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947). The conference office is based in Cleveland, Ohio.
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