NIU Sports

NIU adds director of athletic counseling

Shyann Beach

Northern Illinois University Athletics announced Thursday enhanced mental health services for athletes with the addition of Dr. Shyann Beach, Psy.D. as director of athletics counseling.

Beach, a clinical psychologist with NIU Counseling and Consultation Services since 2019 who has been working with Huskie student-athletes on a limited basis for the last several years, will now be regularly available, with a permanent office in the NIU Student-Athlete Academic Support Services area in the Yordon Center.

“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to provide additional mental health services to our Huskie student-athletes,” Beach said. “The unique challenges, pressures and expectations placed upon these students make it evident there is a need for increased access to mental health care. Now more than ever it is crucial for athletes to have support both on and off the field. My hope is to help create an environment in which our Huskies feel they are seen as more than the number on the back of their jersey.”

A former Division I student-athlete at Drexel University, Beach earned her Psy.D. in clinical psychology from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology and completed her doctoral internship at Purdue University before joining NIU Counseling and Consultation Services.

Beach’s increased role with NIU Athletics is the latest initiative prioritizing mental health for NIU student-athletes, following the lead of the Mid-American Conference and MAC Council of Student-Athletes. Earlier this summer, the MAC COSA group reiterated its commitment to expanding mental health resources at all league institutions with a powerful op-ed calling on athletics programs across the country to take action to support the mental health of student-athletes.

“I applaud the MAC, which has been at the forefront of this issue for many years, and the NIU student-athletes who have been vocal about making mental health support a priority,” NIU athletic director Sean Frazier said. “Supporting student-athletes’ mental health is as important as any service we can provide, and we are very happy to be able to expand Dr. Beach’s role with NIU Athletics going forward. She has already been a great asset to the department on a limited basis through CCS, which made this an easy transition for her and for our student-athletes. With this move, we can more effectively serve the mental health needs of our entire student-athlete population while also providing enhanced education and training to our coaches and staff.”

In addition to individual counseling sessions with NIU student-athletes, Beach will provide outreach programming and presentations to Huskie teams, the general student-athlete population and athletics staff on mental health-related topics. She will provide mental health consultation for coaches, administrators and Huskie sports medicine professionals while her dual role with Athletics and CCS enables her to easily connect student-athletes and coaches with all of the available mental health resources and staff on the NIU campus.