Athlete Mental Health - The Role Coaches and Athletic Trainers Play
Over 30% of collegiate and professional athletes report having struggled with mental health issues. Many of these athletes experience mental illness symptoms that are serious enough to warrant professional intervention, such as counseling. What’s more and equally concerning, according to a 2017 University of Michigan School of Public Health survey, collegiate athletes are three times less likely to seek help when experiencing mental health issues, such as depression. As teachers and leaders who center the physical well-being of their athletes, coaches and athletic trainers (ATs) must also be equipped to support their athlete’s mental health.
In March 2023, a Maryland bill proposed mandating mental health training for sports coaches. If passed into law, the bill would mandate that all Maryland public high schools and colleges provide mental health first-aid training to all of its coaches. Additionally, Maryland would be the first state in the country to require such training. The bill would equip coaches with the necessary tools to support their athlete’s mental and physical health. One survey from the Aspen Institute Project Play found that 67% of coaches nationwide would like more training to better point athletes to mental health resources.
Coaches and ATs can seek mental health training and resources to better support athletes when mental health issues arise. Click here to learn more about the proposed Maryland bill prioritizing student athletes' physical and mental health.
- Adornato, G. (2023, March 16). Maryland Bill proposes mandated mental health training for coaches ... Maryland bill proposes mandated mental health training for coaches. https://news.scorebooklive.com/maryland/2023/03/16/maryland-bill-proposes-mandated-mental-health-training-for-coaches
- Jensen, B. (2022, November 28). A game plan for mental health. The Hub. https://hub.jhu.edu/2022/11/28/student-athletes-mental-health/
- Johnson, G. (2022, May 26). Mental health issues remain on minds of student-athletes. NCAA Student Athlete Well-Being Study. https://www.ncaa.org/news/2022/5/24/media-center-mental-health-issues-remain-on-minds-of-student-athletes.aspx