Varsity athletes tend to be very driven, and are often resilient, high-achieving, and competitive. They typically have spent their young lives overcoming challenges and striving for success to the extent that it becomes part of their identity. The same qualities that have helped them succeed, though, can be a barrier when it comes to asking for and getting help.
When athletes have a physical injury, most have no trouble getting it examined and treated by the medical staff so they can get back to competing. There is no stigma against tearing your ACL, for example. Though such an injury is often accompanied by disappointment, there is also an understanding that through hard work and rehab – guided by professionals – they can eventually return to their sport, often better than ever. Recovering from a mental health concern need not be any different. If we can look at mental health concerns objectively — as common, human health issues that can be treated and managed – perhaps more athletes would access the care that can be so beneficial to their overall health, well-being, and quality of life.
This section of our site can help you understand barriers to help-seeking for student-athletes, signs and symptoms of mental health issues, practical strategies for helping a person, and useful resources. Ultimately, individuals who are suffering from mental health conditions need to know that they are not alone, and that help is available.