Illini Athletics Launches Mental Wellness Campaign

By Connor Ciecko

The University of Illinois recently announced a new digital wellness campaign for student athletes coinciding with National Mental Health Month.

The new resources for student athletes are intended to provide more support and resources for mental care, including blogs written by health professionals and access to care and counseling providers.  According to the NCAA, nearly 30% of Americans age 18 to 25 experience some form of mental illness.

“When you are struggling, even the thought of finding help can be overwhelming,” said Randy Ballard, associate athletic director for sports medicine.  “So not only is this website convenient for our student-athletes, hopefully it can help ease some of the struggles.”

In December, the University announced a campaign called “Be Well Illinois” aimed at providing mental health newsletters to the greater campus community. The announcement was initially met with outcry on the internet by some students feeling the gesture was off base and out of touch, citing an overwhelming number of students needing support, inefficiencies in the counseling system and a comparatively low number of counselors.  The Counseling Center has approximately 30 full time counselors for 50,000 students versus Sport Medicine’s 5 providers for 500 students.