Mental Health in Athletes: 45 Resources to Help You Cope
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, NBA player Kevin Love, tennis champion Serena Williams and UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi have captivated sports fans with their athletic abilities. They are also among the sports figures who have spoken openly about challenges with mental health. Elite athletes in the spotlight for mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and PTSD, give a voice to others who quietly face the same struggles and remind everyone that even those who perform seemingly superhuman feats struggle sometimes and need support.
1 in 4 Project: This Chicago-based organization works to overcome the shame associated with mental health in sports by providing programs and workshops focused on self-advocacy, nutrition and more to athletes, their parents and the sports community.
Athletes for Hope: This organization, which educates and connects athletes to charities around the world, provides athletes with suggestions on how to take action on mental health.
Association for Applied Sport Psychology: The AASP’s membership includes sport psychology consultants and professionals. Its site connects athletes, coaches and parents with information to help with the psychological component that affects performance.
BelievePerform: A global source of content on performance psychology, this website focuses on well-being and mental health for the sports community and provides free articles and videos on a broad range of topics for athletes of all levels. It also offers paid membership to access courses and training programs.
Beyond Sport: This global organization promotes social change through sports with various initiatives, including the Stay in the Game Network, a forum featuring leaders in sports, health care and social change. The forum explores the use of sports to promote mental wellness.
Recognize to Recover: U.S. Soccer’s comprehensive player health and safety program for all ages has a page with comprehensive lists of common mental health disorders among athletes, behaviors to watch for and best ways to approach a conversation about mental illness.
Team USA Athlete Services: The mental health–focused page created by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee offers member athletes information on how to access sports psychologists, unlimited phone counseling and other mental health resources.
Athletes Connected: This program developed by a collaboration between the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Depression Center, and Athletic Department conducts research and offers support to raise awareness about mental health issues, reduce the stigma of seeking help and promote positive coping skills among student athletes.
Eric Monday Foundation: Based in Virginia, this nonprofit organization helps athletes overcome the stigma of seeking mental health assistance and connects them to support organizations and professionals.
Helping Support Student-Athlete Mental Health (PDF, 1 MB): NCAA’s primer for stakeholders outside of athletics outlines approaches to help student athletes and athletic staff recognize mental health issues including disordered eating, mood disorders, depression, anxiety disorders and sleep disorders.
Hope Happens Here: External link A student-led movement with specific focus on student-athletes, this initiative promotes mental health awareness on college campuses via presentations and activities intended to break the stigma.
NCAA Sport Science Institute: NCAA Sport Science Institute’s central page on mental health provides educational resources, best practices, data and research, and information summits and task forces related to the topic.
LEAD: Let’s Empower Advocate and Do: This student-founded nonprofit organization provides mental health education for middle school, high school and college athletes and athletic staff with topics specific to a competitive sports environment.
Mental Wellness in Sports:Psychology Today developed a series that features blog posts on showing appreciation and helping young athletes feel safe.
MindWise Innovations: This Massachusetts nonprofit partners with schools and communities on suicide prevention and connecting people with mental health resources.
Emotional Injuries Center: Part of the nonprofit MomsTeam Institute, this site offers information and expert advice on bullying, hazing and being cut from a team to ensure that sports are safe for children.
National Alliance for Youth Sports: Mental Health Challenges: This nonprofit focuses on educating and preparing youth sports leaders, volunteers and parents so children can enjoy the benefits of sports. The site has an information page on mental health challenges in sports with a link to sign up for a supplemental coach training course on the subject.
Rocket Blades: The CDC’s mobile app on concussion safety for children ages 6 to 8 teaches how the brain can be hurt during sports activities and the importance of telling a coach, parent or other adult when an injury occurs.
Society of Health and Physical Educators: This national organization of health and physical education professionals has resources for coaches and teachers to inspire healthy habits and minds among children.
Will to Live: This Georgia-based charity organization spreads awareness about mental health and promotes suicide prevention efforts.
At Your Own Risk: This initiative from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association aims to educate parents, school administrators and student athletes about a better approach to sports by providing tips to promote a positive sport experience and foster a culture of safety.
National Athletic Trainers’ Association: This association’s mental health page connects visitors with development planning guides for student athletes with psychological concerns at the secondary and collegiate levels.
Positive Coaching Alliance: This nonprofit with a mission to create a positive, character-building youth sports environment provides training workshops and resources on topics such as being a good teammate, learning the value of composure and putting sports into perspective.