Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

Education Leadership & Counseling

First Advisor

Paul Bylsma

Academic Year



Mental health is an urgent topic in higher education as many college students are feeling an overwhelming sense of stress, anxiety, and depression. A population of students that significantly struggles with their mental health but does not utilize campus mental health services are student-athletes. Many student-athletes have reported wanting to reach out for help with their mental health, but they do now want to due to the stigma that seeking help makes an individual appear weak. This project explores the recent research regarding access to mental health services among collegiate student-athletes and how removing those barriers can encourage this population to be mindful of their overall wellbeing. In order to support student-athletes and their mental health an intentional wellness initiative should take place to acknowledge the unique needs of the student-athletes. The wellness initiative for Grand Valley State University athletics department addresses the various needs of student-athletes through one-on-one check-ins with coaches to provide a space for reflection and connect through mindful based activities. Additionally, this wellness initiative provides opportunity for coaches to listen and learn more about their student-athletes concerns and experiences to have a better understanding of what they might be going through and become a resource to connect them with different departments on campus.