HOW CAN WE PROVIDE FREE RESOURCES FOR HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENT ATHLETES STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH?

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MY THOUGHTS BEHIND THE IDEA:

As a student athlete about to take the next step and play at the collegiate level, this topic hits close to home. I have observed many of my teammates as well as other friends struggle to juggle school and athletics. There is a huge stigma around mental health especially within the collegiate level because people believe that if you are stressed or struggling to balance everything, you are considered weak. Funny thing is that is far from the truth. People tend to hold all their feelings in and deflect their struggles because they are scared of what people will think about them. This is much more common in college. Many athletes in college do not feel comfortable going to their coach or support system, such as team sports phycologists, nutritionists, or even academic advisors. I have heard of many college athletes feeling alone because they can not go to their team coach or resources provided by the college/university. My whole idea for this app is to provide a safe space and resources for high school and college student athletes to get help and from sports psychologist and other people without having to go to their college/university resources.

33% of all college students experience significant symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions. This statistics is for young athletes, but specifically for college athletes.  Only 10% of college student athletes with mental health issues get help. A poll was done by the NCAA during the COVID lockdown and the survey was asking student athletes about their well-being. “Most respondents in an NCAA student-athlete well-being survey reported experiencing high rates of mental distress. Over a third of respondents reported experiencing sleep difficulties, while more than a quarter reported feeling sadness and a sense of loss, and 1 in 10 reported feeling so depressed it has been difficult to function “constantly” or “most every day. (NCAA). This is very alarming and with COVID becoming a factor, creating high rates of mental health issues. As a student-athlete, the word student is more important than the word athlete. As you can imagine, as sports decline the mental health of the student, their coursework also starts to deteriorates. In the survey, fewer people responded that they felt positive about being able to keep up with their coursework during COVID. As we all know, most colleges and high schools went online and also sent their students home. This leaves major opportunities for students to fall into slumps and depression due to the lack of social interaction, possible troubles at home, no season or off season training, and so on. From talking to many student athletes who’s seasons were cut short or canceled, they expressed sadness, anger, and frustration. Stating that having no season made them fall into a slump. They felt like everything became harder: school, social life, sleeping. This leads to mental health issues that become very hard to handle in everyday life. Many student athletes are still facing mental health issues even after a year of dealing with everything. 

 

This app would be provided to student athletes in high school, college, and professional levels. My main idea and target for customers is collegiate athletes though. This app would have access to therapists, sports psychologists , and nutritionists. One feature that would be included is an anonymous chat which allows the athlete to chat with any of our resources without feeling as though it is considered weak or potentially feeling judged. The whole point and mission of this app is to make the athletes feel like this is a safe place to express their feelings and concerns as well as understand they are not alone. Many athletes feel as if they are alone in this battle when it actuality they are 1 in thousands struggling with these issues. My app would also include articles on how to cope with certain situations as well as videos of former student athlete speaking on their experiences ( An example is below). I would also like to have speakers once a month, just like the USC Volleyball player, Victoria Garrick, who advocates and shares her journey as a D1 struggling with mental health issues. You are probably wondering how we would pay for all these resources. Through ads that are relevant to mental health issues within the app that are visible, but not annoying. I am also looking to partner with colleges to help promote and get the word out about the app. 

 

  1. Do you know someone who as an athlete struggles with mental health?
  2. If you are a student athlete, would you use this app as a resource? If so, please explain why.

 

3 Comments

3 comments

  1. 1. Personally, I don’t think I know a athlete that struggles with mental health because people don’t talk about it.

    2. I am a student athlete in high school. I play soccer for a club team and my school team along with basketball. This app sounds really cool and useful, and I feel that it could become successful. The main part about the app that I enjoyed was the anonymous chat because I feel that it makes people feel more comfortable to express themselves. Great job overall!

  2. Hi Ellie! I loved your project and I feel like it pairs perfectly with mine since mine was on sports psychology. In answer to your questions, I do know athletes who struggle with mental health and I am one of them. I also agree that it’s hard for athletes to really open up about without coming off as weak. I would definitely use this app as a resource since I play two sports and feel like I hold and put a lot of pressure on myself. By having resources available to me I feel like I would be able to learn how to cope with things and also see others who are facing similar things.

  3. Hello Ellie! The hardest thing to do in life is to open up to others about their troubles. More specifically, a high schooler under a lot of stress due to academics and sports typically is not the best at this. In my junior year, I was going to school, going to soccer practice, and then studying for the rest of my day. This constant cycle put me under stress which ultimately led to a temporary depressive state. I felt like I had no resources around me to help. That is why I would use your app to help me get through stressful times as a student-athlete.

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