LiveBIG Staff, May 4, 2020

ROSEMONT, ILL. - The Big Ten Conference formally announced today, in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month, the formation of the Big Ten Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet, which includes representatives from all 14 Big Ten institutions, as well as sport affiliate members Johns Hopkins (women?s and men?s lacrosse) and Notre Dame (men?s hockey). In conjunction with today?s announcement, the Big Ten Conference is pleased to share that all Big Ten student-athletes, coaches, full-time members of university athletic departments and conference staff members will receive free, unlimited access to Calm, the No. 1 mental fitness app for helping individuals experience lower stress, less anxiety, improved focus and more restful sleep.

?When I was hired as the Commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, a core pillar of my vision was to make sure that we educate, embrace, engage and empower our more than 9,500 student-athletes. This is a complex and stressful time in our society and the mental health and wellness of our Big Ten family is a critical component of our focus,? said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. ?The Cabinet will be instrumental for us both short and long term, as we pursue our goal of creating and maintaining the most comprehensive mental health and wellness platform in college athletics.?

?Our hope is that the Calm mental fitness app will provide an immediate resource for all Big Ten student-athletes, coaches, athletic department staff members and conference staff during these unprecedented times and is only the first of many steps that we will take in the area of mental health and wellness. We are fortunate to have so many professionals on our campuses who have dedicated their lives to tackling mental health issues. We were driven to supplement their inspiring work with additional resources, important under normal circumstances, but even more so during the COVID-19 pandemic.?

The Cabinet was established in December 2019 by Commissioner Warren to promote optimal mental health for student-athletes and is comprised of 31 individuals representing a wide range of disciplines, including mental health educators, medical doctors, faculty athletic representatives and senior woman administrators. These industry leaders will take a comprehensive, systemic and interdisciplinary approach to establishing mental health programs, while also providing counsel, advice and expertise to the conference office.

?I think the work the Big Ten Conference is doing with regard to mental health initiatives is incredibly important,? Ohio State head football coach Ryan Day said. ?Forming a Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet is a reflection of the conference?s leadership, engagement and support for mental health initiatives. These efforts will help bring much-needed attention and awareness to the subject of mental health.?

Calm is the world?s No. 1 app for mental fitness, with more than 100 hours of original audio content on topics ranging from anxiety to stress, gratitude, sleep and more. Calm has been named Apple?s 2017 App of the Year and a Google Play Editor?s Choice in 2018. Calm?s two most popular content offerings are its Daily Calm (new daily 10-minute meditation) and its Sleep Stories (bedtime stories for grown-ups).

?The Big Ten Conference continues to be a leader and trailblazer in developing initiatives to enhance the student-athlete experience. The formation of the Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet and the accompanying resources demonstrates that,? said Brenda Frese, Maryland women?s basketball head coach. ?Commissioner Warren has stated from the very beginning of his tenure the importance he places on mental health awareness and that focus of helping our student-athletes is at the forefront of his vision. At Maryland, Damon Evans has been in lockstep in supporting our student-athletes and these initiatives. As a head coach, we are talking and interacting with our student-athletes daily and helping them is a top priority, so I am pleased the Big Ten has placed such an importance on mental health.?

?We need to start with the new Commissioner having the vision and the wherewithal to request that we try to do something that?s never been done - looking at taking care of the student-athlete and seeing them as a whole person. That is a major shift. I have never heard anything like it,? said Michigan Executive Associate Athletic Director and Cabinet member Greg Harden. ?I have never heard a commissioner talk about it more than Kevin Warren has. This changes the game - having that type of leadership at that type of level. This was all pre-COVID-19. We started collaborating and examining best practices, examining how to work together, how to make sure there was integrity in the exchanges, how to build trust and go beyond the competitive rituals of being in sports. To be able to hear the best from our colleagues in our conference - it was a common commitment to an agenda that went beyond who is going to win the next game. We are in the business of developing people, intervening, solving issues, and pushing forth success.?

The membership of the Big Ten Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet can be found below:

Illinois Randy Ballard Assoc. AD, Sports Medicine/Director of Integrated Performance
Dr. Tiffany White Assoc. Professor of Business Admin./Bruce and Anne Strohm Faculty Fellow
Indiana Dr. Troy Moles Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology
Mattie White SWA/Sr. Assoc. AD for Academic Services and Excellence Academy
Iowa Dr. Aubrette Kinne Embedded Staff Psychologist – Department of Athletics
Dr. Lisa Woodroffe Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Johns Hopkins Erin Long Director of Sport Performance & Wellness
Elizabeth Winberry Director of Student Outreach and Support
Maryland Dr. Michelle Garvin Director of Clinical and Sports Psychology
Dr. Sue Sherburne SWA/Sr. Assoc. AD, Academics & Student Development
Michigan Abigail Eiler Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work
Greg Harden Executive Assoc. AD
Michigan State Dr. Anthony Avellino Asst. Provost, Student Wellness, Health and Safety/HealthTeam Chief Medical Officer
Alan Haller Deputy Athletic Director
Minnesota Dr. Carly Anderson Director of Sport Psychology Services
Joi Thomas Sr. Assoc. AD, Health & Performance
Nebraska Dr. Brett Haskell Director of Sport Psychology
Dr. Brett Woods Assistant Director of Sport Psychology
Northwestern Dr. Courtney Albinson Assoc. Director, Sport Psychology
Dr. Jeff Mjaanes Director of Sports Medicine/Head Team Physician
Notre Dame Dr. Joey Ramaeker Counseling & Sport Psychologist
Dr. Niki Sims Asst. Director for Clinical Sport Psychology & Sport Psychologist
Ohio State Dr. Chelsi Day Sport Psychologist
Dr. James Houle Lead Sport Psychologist
Penn State Dr. Natalie Hernandez DePalma Asst. Director, Clinical Services
Dr. Carl Ohlson Asst. AD, Performance Psychology
Purdue Dr. Kelsey Dawson Sports Psychologist
Dr. Brad Foltz Sports Psychologist
Rutgers Dr. Joshua Bershad Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Peter Economou Assoc. Professor, Program Director, Applied Psychology
Wisconsin Dr. Cassie Pasquariello Director of Clinical and Sports Psychology