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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.

1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Beto plans Texas comeback in governor's race

Former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speaks during the Georgetown to Austin March for Democracy rally on July 31, 2021 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to run for governor of Texas in 2022, with an announcement expected later this year, Texas political operatives tell Axios.

Why it matters: O'Rourke's entry would give Democrats a high-profile candidate with a national fundraising network to challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott — and give O’Rourke, a former three-term congressman from El Paso and 2020 presidential candidate and voting rights activist, a path to a political comeback.

Texas doctor says he performed an abortion in violation of state law

Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue and back to the Texas state capitol in Austin, Tx in July 2021. Photo: Erich Schlegel/Getty Images

A Texas doctor disclosed in an op-ed in the Washington Post Saturday that he has performed an abortion in violation of the state's restrictive new abortion law, which bans effectively bans the procedure after six weeks.

Why it matters: Alan Braid's op-ed is a direct disclosure that will very likely result in legal action, thereby setting it up as a potential test case for how the abortion ban will be litigated, notes the New York Times.