Why is this important?
In Canada, there are approximately 32 000 university and college-level student-athletes. Considering that 1 in 4 post-secondary students suffer from mental health problems, the added pressure for student-athletes expected to balance both school and sport performance, alongside other financial, family and social commitments, may make this population more likely to experience stress, anxiety and depression. Often, they struggle to get help because of stigma surrounding mental health and illness in sport. The expectation to be mentally tough keeps many student-athletes silent and isolated.
Founded in 2014, the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative is a charitable not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the mental health of Canada's post-secondary student-athletes.
As a champion for student-athlete mental health, SAMHI’s mission is to eliminate mental illness stigma in post-secondary sport, facilitate access to the resources needed to maintain and improve mental health, and support student-athletes experiencing mental illness. Through our work, which focuses primarily on education, training and community engagement, we are changing what it means to be mentally tough.
What People Are Saying
"The need for SAMHI is readily apparent to me, and I am thrilled to be a part of the Campus Team. We are in the process of planning a Mental Health Matchup weekend to not only bring our campus community together, but to normalize the discussion of mental health among our student-athlete peers. "
— Sara Giovannetti, University of Toronto SAMHI Campus Team
"Mental Health Matchups are critical to the awareness and discussion of mental health. There is an issue in sport where athletes are rewarded for being 'mentally tough’ which contributes to mental health stigma. "
— Matt Allen, OIWFA President
"Being a part of the campus team has given our athletics community the chance to come together, recognize and share some of the pressures we feel with one another, instead of struggling with them on our own. "
— Lindsay Taylor, Memorial University SAMHI Campus Team
"The SAMHI presentation [...] was powerful, thought provoking and provided a definite boost in the awareness of all in attendance with respect to the need to be concerned about the mental well being our student athlete population."
— Mike Havey, Athletic Director, University of Waterloo