Interview: Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative (SAMHI)

Thanks mostly to DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors) and Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), I’ve been thinking a lot about athletes’ mental health. I want to say more about DeRozan and Love’s public sharing of their vulnerabilities, about responses to their sharing, and about mental health in the NBA more generally. But before I get there, I want to spend a little time addressing mental health in the world of student athletes.

Earlier this year, when I had the pleasure of speaking with McMaster University’s Director of Athletics and Recreation, Glen Grunwald, I learned of an organization focused on the mental wellness of student-athletes in Canada: SAMHI, the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative. At the time, Grunwald’s reference to SAMHI was one detail in a broader story about the student-athlete experience. But after DeRozan and Love sparked conversations about depression, anxiety and such in the NBA world, I thought again of SAMHI and realized I wanted to learn more.

To that end, I produced another interview segment for CFMU 93.3 FM’s Maurader Morning program, this time featuring my conversation with the president and co-founder of SAMHI, the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative, Samantha DeLenardo.

DeLenardo was a student-athlete. As a graduate student she studied student-athlete mental health, not just to learn more but also to develop strategies for helping student-athletes who struggle with mental health issues. And that is  why SAMHI exists.

I found my conversation with DeLenardo inspiring. I hope you do too.

Interview with Samantha DeLenardo, Co-founder and President of SAMHI – the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative

Interview notes

00:00:00 – introduction

00:01:06 – interview begins

00:01:50 – the origins of SAMHI

00:05:03 – what SAMHI does: Campus Team Program, Blog, Suicide-Prevention Training

00:09:05 – SAMHI logo and the Huddle Framework

00:12:02 – mental health in a team environment

00: 15:06 – mental toughness

00:18:04 – impact of pro athletes and peers speaking out

00:20:29 – the role of gender in student-athletes’ mental health

00:22:37 – how people can help or get involved

00:25:05 – SAMHI’s videos

00:26:36 – wrap-up

Originally recorded for CFMU 93.3 FM,

SAMHI website:

SAMHI blog, The Huddle:

SAMHI videos

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