Reducing the Mental Health Stigma in College Athletics: A Pilot Study

Zak Montoya, Dr. Karen Appleby, and Dr. JongHun Sung, Department of Human Performance and Sport Studies, Idaho State University, 921 S. 8th Ave, Pocatello ID 83209

Mental health within college athletics is critical topic of analysis. Ineffectively managing mental health issues can have detrimental effects on academic performance, athletic performance, and overall well-being. Considering the everyday responsibilities student-athletes face, ensuring they feel comfortable seeking out mental health resources is critical. Research on this topic will contribute to the existing body of literature regarding student-athletes and mental health by extending efforts to improve student-athlete mental health and well-being through destigmatizing the use of mental health resources. With this knowledge, athletic departments may modify their mental health education approach, how they teach mental health skills, and how they encourage the utilization of mental health resources.  The purpose of this pilot study will be to identify existing barriers preventing collegiate athletes from seeking mental health resources and strategies that can be used to eliminate these barriers.

To investigate this issue, a pilot study will be conducted with 3-5 current collegiate athletes about their experiences and perceptions of seeking mental health support. To gather data, a survey will be distributed to student athletes on campus at a NCAA Division I institution in the Northwest region of the United States. This pilot study will help develop the protocol for a larger study, which will investigate the attitudes of collegiate student-athletes in seeking mental health support and what barriers they face in doing so. This study will impact student athletes with mental health issues by providing them knowledge and resources necessary to effectively deal with them.   Further, the study results can help create an environment that emphasizes mental health importance and the importance of seeking help which will contribute to better overall health, and a more successful student athlete experience. 

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Zak Montoya

Institution: Idaho State University

Type: Poster

Subject: Health & Human Development

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 7
Date/Time: Tue 3:30pm-4:30pm
Session Number: 5114