Mental health in athletes: a resource guide

Mental health in athletes is a big topic. But this is not going to be a long wordy post.

I just felt that, given things that have been happening in youth sports lately, a list of resources might be appropriate.

Mental health issues can affect anyone. No one is bullet proof. Please keep this post handy, in case you or someone you love ever needs it.

Disclaimer: This nutrition blog and its contents is intended solely for informational and educational purposes, and is not intended and should not be construed as offering or providing clinical nutritional advice, or as establishing a professional-client or professional-patient relationship. For more information, please see the Disclosures page.

Here we go.

Talk to someone about your mental health

First and foremost, talk to someone in your life. This person might be a parent, but also could be a coach, a teammate, a teacher, a friend, your doctor.

photo of boy walking down street with his head down, holding his head

Make the call

Second, if things seem really bad, please call someone. Your doctor’s office or local hospital may have a crisis line.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Resources

If you or your child are not in crisis, but would like some assistance, peruse this list. Maybe one of these resources could be useful. They are in no particular order.

(Note: The descriptions are directly copied from the organization websites.)

1.The Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression Foundation

The Athletes Against Anxiety and Depression Foundation is dedicated to providing resources to anyone that suffers from a mental health battle.

2. 4 in 1 Project

The mission of the 4 in 1 Project is to bring awareness of mental health and wellness to the sports community.

3. BelievePerform

BelievePerform are leaders in visual led mental health resources for the education and sport sector. We are dedicated to moving mental health beyond awareness and into action by providing people with accessible, engaging and applied mental fitness resources.

4. No Jersey Left Behind

No Jersey Left Behind (NJLB) strives to change the narrative and end the stigma surrounding mental health amongst student athletes. 

5. Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Check out this webinar from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Managing Stress in Sports: Quieting the Mind and the Body

6. US Soccer Federation’s Recognize to Recover

US Soccer Federation’s Recognize to Recover is aimed at promoting safe play and reducing injuries in soccer players of all ages. The linked page has mental health resources for athletes.

7. Road Runners Club of America

Road Runners Club of America has a mental health guide.

8. Let’s Empower, Advocate, and Do, Inc. (LEAD)

LEAD’s mission is to provide training and curriculum to strengthen mental health literacy, promote lifelong well-being, and build community resilience.

9. Psychology Today Mental Wellness in Sports Blog Series

In this blog series, Psychology Today reviews methods that have been shown to improve mental wellness and sport performance in studies involving intramural, club and NCAA athletes

10. MomsTeam

MomsTeam has been at the forefront of efforts to reduce emotional abuse in youth sports.

11. Children’s Hospital of Colorado

Read this article from Children’s Hospital of Colorado: The Psychology of Recovering from a Sports Injury.

Bottom Line

  • If you’re in crisis, please call someone immediately!
  • Remember that mental health issues can affect anyone.
  • Remember that the people who love you want to help you.
  • Look through the resources and make use of those that seem helpful.

Sarah Skovran, RDN LD ACE-PT, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, ACE certified personal trainer, mom of a teen athlete, and is mostly vegan. She writes about sports nutrition, plant based eating, and adolescent nutrition at Plant Powered Teens, and sees in-person clients at her private practice in Maine.

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