What is the most common reason people don’t get help?
Lack of knowledge and fear of mental health stigma.
That's a trend we want to see reversed. All of us- we need to TALK about mental health.
Recently, while good strides have been made in the area of mental health education, awareness and prevention the work is far from complete. Many people still avoid talking or getting help due to lack of knowledge and concerns about mental health stigma. For athletes, this fear can be compounded by concerns about disruptions to training and envisaged threats to athletic identity.
But the fact is, people who get help with mental health issues tend to get better faster and stay better for longer. For athletes, this also means fewer disruptions to their sport participation and goals.
But talking about mental health issues can be somewhat awkward and challenging. If you need help please reach out. Talk to someone you trust, your family physician, or local mental health resource.
If you're scared and don't know where to start, please contact me and I would be happy to assist. I am committed to reducing barriers to talking about and accessing help with mental health issues for athletes.
Managing mental health: a FAQ guide for Athletes
What are people talking about when they refer to a “mental health issue”?
Mental health issues can range from the worries and faulty thinking we all often experience to more serious conditions. The majority of people who experience mental health concerns can get over them or learn to live with them with the proper assistance.
What may make an athlete vulnerable to developing a mental health problem?
· Age increases the risk for certain disorders
· Sport performance pressure
· Academic pressure
· Balancing sport and other life demands
· Relationship issues
· Injury and illness
Does my coach have to know? What about my parents and teammates?
When you see a mental health professional, whatever you discuss will remain confidential. The only exceptions are if a person is a danger to themselves, someone else or a child. If you are under the age of eighteen, your parents will have a right to information about your treatment. This does not mean, however that all must be disclosed. This will be a matter discussed with the health professional. A coach or teammate will only know if you chose to tell them. There may be reasons it will be beneficial for your coach to know some basic aspects of your treatment so they can better assist you. Again, this can be discussed with the professional you are seeking treatment from and you will have input into determining the best course of action.
Will I have to stop training if I have a mental health issue?
Not necessarily. It depends on the severity of symptoms and other variables. Most commonly it is encouraged for the athlete to remain in training while receiving treatment. This is why early detection and appropriate action is so very important. The sooner you get help, the more likely it is your training and performance schedule will not be disrupted.