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Summary of the Task Force to Advance Mental Health Best Practices

November 9-10, 2017, Meeting

  1. Welcome and announcements. NCAA Chief Medical Officer, Brian Hainline, welcomed the attendees and gave an overview of the NCAA Sport Science Institute’s strategic priorities. Facilitator Lynne Kaplan shared the following goals of the task force:
    1. Develop tools and strategies to assist member schools with the implementation of the Mental Health Best Practices document.
    2. Identify emerging mental health issues.
    3. Engage additional constituents and stakeholder.
  2. The following presentations were given to the task force as a way of providing information that would later be incorporated into the working groups:
    1. NCAA SSI Associate Director of Prevention and Health Promotion Mary Wilfert provided an overview of the interassociation Mental Health Best Practices document.
    2. NCAA Associate Director of Research Lydia Bell presented on the results of a survey to the membership on mental health.
    3. Assistant Professor, University of Washington, Emily Kroshus, and Director, Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, David Wyrick, shared their plan to study the efficacy of the NCAA online mental health education module for coaches.
    4. Licensed clinical social worker at Virginia Commonwealth University, Nina Schroder, and NCAA Assistant Director of Prevention and Health Promotion, Jessica Gonzalez, discussed emerging issues, including emotional resilience in the digital age and reproductive health.
  3. Working groups. Following the presentations, task force members were divided into four working groups to address barriers and recommendations to support implementation of the Best Practices: models of care, cross-campus collaboration, athletics department policies, and education programming for coaches and student-athletes. The groups then reported out about their discussions and the attendees voted on the top ideas. These ideas included:
    1. Create a template to identify a campus-wide multidisciplinary team.
    2. Identify models of care, on a continuum from prevention to intervention.
    3. Identify referral templates for both emergency and routine mental health issues.
    4. Encourage coach representation on campus athletics councils and task forces. Create/revise a campus stakeholder’s guide to encourage stakeholder engagement for institutional personnel who work outside of athletics.
    5. Provide an education strategic plan that is multi-targeted, multicultural, multimodal and multidisciplinary. Identify/create a peer mental health education model. Create an infographic for student-athletes and athletics staff that provides mental health information and statistics.
    6. Create a positive language mental health review tool/glossary to destigmatize help seeking.
    7. Provide a conference/institutional grant to support mental health efforts.
    8. Offer opportunities for coach representation in NCAA governing bodies.
    9. Emphasize the importance of addressing mental health through an integrative and interdisciplinary approach, identifying the importance of assigning staff with responsibility to assure compliance with best practices
    10. Share resources at the conference level for a mental health training day event.
  4. Next steps. The SSI staff will continue to work with task force members to develop supplemental resources that address the recommendations of the task force and that will assist member schools with implementation of the best practices. These resources are tentatively scheduled for release in summer 2018.