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Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren. Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and for the Big Ten, it began with the announcement of the Mental Health and Wellness Cabinet.

Why it matters: This is the first major initiative in Kevin Warren's young tenure as the new Big Ten commissioner, and it will help elevate the mental wellbeing of athletes at a time when so much of the focus is on physical health.

Details: The cabinet is composed of 31 experts represented by each of the 14 Big Ten schools plus two affiliates — Notre Dame (hockey) and Johns Hopkins (lacrosse).

  • The first tangible change they've made is purchasing subscriptions to Calm, the app aimed at reducing stress and anxiety, for all 9,600 of their student-athletes and coaches. But the general idea is to unify the heretofore siloed efforts to improve mental health.
"This was one of my key pillars, even when I interviewed for the job. This is all about the student-athletes, to tell how much we love, admire, respect, appreciate them, to give them the resources, that we're here, they can talk about it."
— Kevin Warren, Big Ten commissioner

The big picture: Led by high-profile athletes like Michael Phelps, Kevin Love and Sean Doolittle, sports have recently experienced a major step forward in the cause of de-stigmatizing mental illness.

  • "This is the most overwhelmed I've ever felt in my life. That's why I have times where I don't want to be me," Phelps wrote yesterday in an incredibly transparent story published on ESPN.

The bottom line: The pandemic has pushed mental illness to the background in favor of the more easily-digestible physical aspect of the virus, and in that way, Mental Health Awareness Month has come just in the nick of time.

Go deeper: Some schools give mental health days as young Americans' suicide rate rises

Go deeper

Trump campaign ad attacks Biden's mental faculties

Trump campaign ad screenshot

President Trump's re-election campaign launched its most brutal ad of the 2020 election overnight, suggesting Joe Biden has experienced severe mental decline over the past four years.

Driving the news: The digital ad, "What happened to Joe Biden," is timed to overlap with the Democratic National Convention and launches the Trump campaign's four-day takeover of the YouTube masthead.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Pentagon: 8,500 troops on high alert for possible deployment to eastern Europe

Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has placed 8,500 U.S. troops on "heightened preparedness to deploy" to eastern Europe in case NATO activates its rapid-response force over tensions with Russia, the Pentagon announced Monday.

Why it matters: No decisions have been made to actually deploy U.S. forces, but the heightened alert level will allow the military to rapidly shore up NATO's eastern flank in the event that Russia invades Ukraine. The Pentagon warned that Russia has shown "no signs of de-escalating," and continues to amass troops on Ukraine's borders.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

The latest: The president called Doocy Monday evening, the reporter told Fox's Sean Hannity. "He cleared the air and I appreciated it. We had a nice call," Doocy said when asked whether the president apologized, adding: "I don't need anyone to apologize to me."