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Mental Health

Health means both physical and mental health: they are two sides of the same coin, with one often affecting the other. Physical problems, including sport injury, often have psychological or emotional consequences. Psychological problems, which can include eating disorders and substance-use problems, typically have physical consequences. As with physical injuries, mental health problems may affect athletic performance and limit, or even preclude, training and competition until successfully managed and treated.

Mental health issues are a critical issue in collegiate sport.  Collegiate student-athletes face many of the same mental health risk factors as their non-athlete peers.  However, their role as student-athletes may expose them to an additional set of risk factors.  These risk factors can take the form of direct stressors (e.g., time demands, performance pressures, coaching style), interactions with others in their environment that encourage risk behaviors and discourage help seeking, harassment and discrimination related to personal characteristics such as race/ethnicity or sexual orientation.  Stakeholders in the sport environment, including coaches, medical staff, administrators and teammates, play an important role in mitigating these risk factors through prevention and screening programs and interactions that encourage and support help seeking. 

The NCAA Sport Science Institute is committed to providing resources to help stakeholders at member institutions address the mental health concerns of student-athletes, with a goal of creating a culture where care seeking for mental health issues is as normative as care seeking for physical injuries.  The centerpiece of these efforts is an e-book entitled “Mind, Body and Sport”.  Additional resources are available in the resource section of this webpage and will be updated on a rolling basis in response to feedback from stakeholders and member institutions.  We invite your feedback and suggestions about these efforts.  To receive alerts when new resources are posted and to be kept apprised of the latest research and news related to student-athlete mental health, please follow @NCAA_SSI on Twitter or sign-up for the NCAA Sport Science Institute newsletter.

Videos for athletes

Videos courtesy of the University of Michigan (