NCAA Study Shows Mental Health Is Still A Concern For Athletes

INDIANAPOLIS — An NCAA survey of college athletes suggests that rates of mental exhaustion, anxiety and depression remain twice as high as pre-pandemic levels, but feelings of hopelessness have improved.

The results of the study, a follow-up to two conducted in the fall of 2020, were released on Tuesday. The data is based on input from more than 9,800 respondents and shows that mental health concerns remain highly elevated.

The study was conducted from Nov. 17 to Dec. 13 and was designed by NCAA Research in conjunction with the NCAA Sport Science Institute and the Division I, II, and III Student-Athlete Advisory Committees.

The results show that 69% of women’s sports participants and 63% of men’s sports participants strongly agree or strongly agree that they know where to go on campus if they have mental health problems. However, less than half of each said they agreed or strongly agreed that they would be comfortable seeking support from an on-campus mental health provider.

The NCAA Constitution requires each affiliated school to create an environment that reinforces and encourages the need for resources for physical and mental health problems within athletics.

Since March 1, at least five athletes from NCAA member institutions have died by suicide, highlighting the growing need for awareness of services available on campus as students juggle the stresses of athletic competition, expectations, academics, a social life and plans for the future. future.

“A lot of what influences direction on this topic is what kind of conversations take place on a mental health campus,” Scott Hamilton, a clinical mental health consultant at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, said in a press release. “Are there groups on campus, either through the athletic department or through counseling services, that are using their voices to reduce stigma?”

Working with teams, Hamilton said, has been effective in changing the mindset.

“If college campuses are willing to have open conversations about the importance of mental health, taking care of yourself mentally can alleviate the anxiety of student-athletes seeking help,” he said.

According to survey data, 65% of female athletes and 58% of men agreed or strongly agreed that they take teammates’ mental health issues seriously, and 56% of both genders said they know how to treat a teammate with a mental health issue. help out.

Also, 55% of men and 47% of women agreed or strongly agreed that mental health is a priority of their athletics department, and 59% of men and 50% of women agreed or strongly agreed that coaches take mental health issues seriously.

Leave a Comment