May is Mental Health Awareness Month. According to The American College of Sports Medicine approximately 30% of women and 25% of men student-athletes report having anxiety, and only 10% of all college athletes with known mental health conditions seek care from a mental health professional. Additionally, they found that approximately 35% of elite athletes suffer from disordered eating, burnout, depression and/or anxiety.
As a coach, caring for your student-athletes goes beyond the sphere of game and practice guidance. For those without experience, it can be a difficult and uncomfortable topic for coaches and student-athletes alike. United Soccer Coaches wants to assist coaches and student-athletes struggling with their mental health by providing the following list of resources that provide research, tools, and support for those who need help.
Recognize to Recover
U.S. Soccer’s Recognize to Recover initiative is their comprehensive player health and safety program. Included in this program is guidance on important topics like events that may trigger mental health concerns, warning signs of anxiety, depression, and suicide, how to have conversations about mental health, and more.
NCAA’s Mental Health Educational Resources
The NCAA Sport Science Institute is a leader in providing health and safety resources to college athletes, coaches, athletics administrators and campus partners. Located on this resource page are materials and resources related to the mental health and wellness of college athletes, including mental health fact sheets, campus resources, education modules, and more.
Association for Applied Sport Psychology 31-Day Mental Wellness Challenge
Each year the AASP provides a 31-day mental wellness challenge in the month of May. This challenge provides a series of daily tasks to bring mental health to the forefront of your mind and allow you to take a moment for restorative self-care. The AASP works to ensure that every performer has the resources to strengthen their inner edge through the advancement and application of excellence in mental performance and mental health.
Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression
Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression is a foundation dedicated to providing resources to anyone that suffers from a mental health battle. On their website you can find mental health resources, gain access to free therapy, and view their webinar series on how to have a consistent approach to taking care of your overall mental health.
FIFPRO Mental Health Resources
The FIFPRO World Players’ Union is dedicated to raising awareness of the mental health struggles faced by footballers in today’s game. FIFPRO recently launched a Mental Health Pilot-Project, conducts studies centered around mental health often, and shares professional players’ stories on mental health.
U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport
The U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport are focused on making sport environments a place where all involved can experience support for their mental health. On their website, visitors can find a learning center full of materials about mental health and sport, a calendar of events that allow attendees to get support and learn how to make a difference, a list of mental health providers, and more. The U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport is the Official Mental Health & Wellness Partner of U.S. Youth Soccer.
National Athletic Trainers Association Resources
The National Athletic Trainers Association is dedicated to advancing awareness of mental health issues, as well as providing support for athletes who face them. They provide a variety of consensus and position statements regarding student-athletes mental health and include resources on the subject.