The Whole Being Athlete Program
Established in May 2021 due to the growing demand from our athlete network, the Whole Being Athlete Program unites and empowers athletes of all levels and backgrounds to work together and reduce the stigma of mental health in and out of sports.
The core pillars of the program include:
EDUCATION | Provide mental health education and training to our athlete network
STORYTELLING | Expand athlete voice and input in the mental health space
CONVENING | Cultivate community activations and service related to athlete mental health
ADVOCACY | Offer advocacy opportunities with existing mental health organizations
Mental Health Champions Club
The Mental Health Champions Club is an Athletes for Hope initiative intended to build, inspire, and activate a robust community of mental health champions across the U.S.
We invite you to join our community built by the power of sports where we will deliver weekly doses of self-care, wellness, and kindness in an effort to reduce the stigma of mental health in and out of sports.
Become a Mental Health Champion here.
Pledge To Reach Out
The first step to addressing mental health is by shattering the stigma & creating community. Seemingly small acts of checking in or offering support are more than kind – they can be lifesaving. Join athletes all over the country in pledging to say to others: “you are not alone.”
Add your name to the Pledge here.
The H.E.A.R.T. Curriculum was created to address the alarming increase in reported anxiety, depression, and mental health issues among students across the U.S. In our school-based content, AFH Mental Health Ambassadors partner with underserved elementary and middle school classrooms to deliver a series of lessons that Increase awareness of mental health tools, identification, and support sources; reduce the stigma around athlete mental health discussion; and build resilience in students around mental health.
Additionally, AFH has developed a short 30-45 minute Mental Health Team Talk to engage teams of athletes in a larger mental health discussion. These crucial sessions are facilitated to create a team environment where athletes, trainers, coaches, and others can communicate about mental health norms, discuss how they could best support each other, and identify mental health resources for their team if needed.
Learn more about H.E.A.R.T. Curriculum here.
Athlete Mental Health Stories
“I’ve had my own struggles with mental health, and feel it is a topic that is left untouched in many minority communities and the world of sports.”Natasha Hastings, Olympic Track and Field
“I was never sure if my hockey career would continue past college, although that was always my goal, and the ease of my decision to step away from sport was proof that the way I was functioning, internalizing everything and putting my head second behind my body, was unsustainable and damaging.”Terra Lanteigne, Retired Professional Ice Hockey
“The idea that success in one’s sport can negatively affect one’s mental health, identity, and love for the sport they compete in is not as commonly discussed. “Cat Salladin, Rutgers Swimming ’22
“My hope for the future is that this is just the beginning and that athletes have a safe space where their mental health will be a priority in whatever sport they are competing in.”Gabby Seiler Kessler, Retired Professional Soccer
“I hope we change the narrative of mental health and instead of viewing these challenges as weakness, we admire the person’s effort to do their best each and every day.”Mariah Parsons, Notre Dame Rowing ’21
“This is the story on how to overcome and deal with mental health issues during a career-ending injury and how to deal with the fact that a lifelong dream can be taken from you in a short period of time.”Mattis Koch, Retired College Soccer
“As student-athletes, we must know how to deal with the biggest pressures of school, sports, and family/social life. We must act on student athlete’s mental health as many of us currently fight the battle but don’t seek out help.”Aaron Kurtzman, Montclair State Football
Mental Health Resource Hub
From crisis hotlines, to how to support teammates, to tips on how to stay mindful, there are so many resources available to support mental health. Our resource hub will be frequently updated with new content and events with our Athlete Ambassadors.
Whole Being Athlete Program Ambassadors
Uniting across all levels of sport, backgrounds, and geographic regions, AFH’s Mental Health ambassadors represent the Whole Being Athlete’s goal: shattering the stigma and silence of athlete mental health. Committed to action and advocacy, each of our ambassadors are dedicated to creating a larger conversation to promote the mental wellbeing of athletes.
Our Mental Health Ambassadors have the goal of not only using their platform to amplify their passion, but to also increase awareness and access to mental health resources.
Learn more about each of them here
Our Mental Health Partners and Collaborators
As we continue to build this program out, we are eager to work with collaborative partners and collaborators. If you are a nonprofit, mental health expert, corporation, athlete or beyond and would like to get involved with this important work, please let us know here.
If someone you know is struggling with their mental health, please call:
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hotline
M-F 10am-8pm Eastern