SAMHI’s Campus Teams are led by post-secondary student-athlete volunteers dedicated to championing mental health at their school. Campus Teams plan and execute mental health events including one varsity event dedicated to mental health awareness, as well as complementary activities they choose such as guest speakers, yoga and wellness sessions, or educational lunch and learns. They are encouraged to partner with other campus initiatives to share resources and break down silos between students and student-athletes.
SAMHI provides the Campus Teams with start-up tools, on-going support, coordination and administrative support, communication and marketing materials, education and training, networking, opportunities to share personal mental health champion stories, and a way to make their community a healthier place to live, work and play.
In its second year, the Campus Team program has expanded from nine to 17 campuses in all four university sport conferences across the country. Each team’s membership ranges from 5 to 30 student-athletes and students. Given this pace, we expect that by the 2017/2018 school year, the number of Campus Teams will double. It is our goal to have a Campus Team at all 56 university member institutions by 2020.
Your support will help us develop and expand our Campus Team program. With growing interest from campuses all across the country, we require financial support to ensure the program is executed with a commitment to excellence, and to support skills training that provides positive change and a pathway to a better future for student-athletes through education.
The impact of this program is clear in both the short-term and long-term at a number of levels. At the local level, Campus Team members have the opportunity to:
- Meet and connect with new people, engage with peers and get involved in campus activities beyond their sport;
- Develop new skills in areas related to mental health, communications, event management, fundraising, administration, peer to peer support, public speaking and more;
- Play an active role in shifting the culture of mental health and illness in sport;
- Interact and work with institution leaders in a number of departments;
- Stay involved in a positive sport environment with like-minded people regardless of playing status.
As noted by Lindsay Taylor of the Memorial University Campus Team, “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.”
Not only are the Campus Teams members benefiting but their work also has great impact in the community. Student-athletes are strong leaders and mental health is something that affects us all. These individuals have the ability to bring in spectators by the thousands and to use their status to change long-standing stigmas related to mental health and illness.
At a national level, the Campus Teams activities and experience inform a collective voice that is critical to guiding the direction of SAMHI. There is tremendous opportunity to gather lessons learned at the local level concerning needs, strengths and areas of focus. As such, our organization will facilitate and support knowledge exchange throughout the year and via an in-person event at the conclusion of the academic year. Knowledge gained from these opportunities can be used to inform practice and lead to continuous improvement.
As we continue to grow every year, we will seek to secure sponsorships and grants from organizations invested in the mental health of young athletes. Additionally, Campus Teams help with fundraising activities which will also support their growth and sustainability.
Being a student-athlete is a full-time job, and we need to support them on this journey with the right training and tools, and meaningful opportunities to make a difference.