Mental Health for the Student Athlete
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Mental Health for the Student Athlete

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Presentation conducted by Health Services personnel, Malinda Shell, and I on January 26, 2011. Presented to coaches of various sports programs at Valley Football Center, Oregon State University

Presentation conducted by Health Services personnel, Malinda Shell, and I on January 26, 2011. Presented to coaches of various sports programs at Valley Football Center, Oregon State University

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  • How do YOU know when Mental health declines?These are some of the things your peers mentioned as symptoms that things were going downhill
  • Injury – students who experience an injury can get depressed; their self esteem and identity may be negatively affected by their inability to do the thing they do best and enjoy the most.Overtraining syndrome – “staleness” sometimes follows heavy training and can include physical and psychological symptoms
  • And some of the things your peers mentioned earlierCan lead to depression and risky behaviors such as an eating disorder or alcohol and drugAnd hopefully you guys can see how these things might affect your athletic performanceMind-Body ConnectionMedical problems have psychological or emotional problemsPsychological problems typically have medical consequencesOverly stressed or depressed students are more susceptible to injury
  • Student Health Services surveys OSU students every two years. This year we separated out the responses of students who identified as student athletes from those of the regular student populationJust to give you an idea about what your students are experiencing…….Experienced these things at a higher rate than the general populationOther things they are experiencing at a higher rate: Depression, anger, suicide, intentional injury to self, homesickness and relationship difficulties as well
  • Even if you cannot understand the seriousnessor difficulty of the student-athlete’sproblem, you must accept that it is aserious problem for that individual.Depressive disorders, anxiety disorders,eating disorders and substance-relateddisorders are mental health problems inneed of treatment. They are illnesses —not choices; that is why they are calleddisorders. Individuals with mental healthproblems are not weak.
  • It is best to approach the individual privately to decrease the likelihood of embarrassment and to avoid any other activity that might distract you or the student-athlete.Hopefully, this approach will allow the student-athlete the opening to talk with you about his or her difficulties. If so, follow the same recommendations discussed previously regarding when the individual comes to you. If the student-athlete resists, you should say that you simply want to arrange an evaluation to determine if there is a problem. Tell the student-athlete that you hope that the evaluation determines that he or she does not have a problem, and if that is the case, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief and go on with our lives. The student-athlete should be told that if the professional’s evaluation indicates that a problem exists, then the professional will discuss treatment options.
  • It is best to approach the individual privately to decrease the likelihood of embarrassment and to avoid any other activity that might distract you or the student-athlete.Hopefully, this approach will allow the student-athlete the opening to talk with you about his or her difficulties. If so, follow the same recommendations discussed previously regarding when the individual comes to you. If the student-athlete resists, you should say that you simply want to arrange an evaluation to determine if there is a problem. Tell the student-athlete that you hope that the evaluation determines that he or she does not have a problem, and if that is the case, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief and go on with our lives. The student-athlete should be told that if the professional’s evaluation indicates that a problem exists, then the professional will discuss treatment options.
  • Some of these kind of sound a little woo woo. But I figured you guys of all student athletes would “get” the breathing and guided imagery.With the “breathing through the eyelids” (Bull Durham( and the need to “clear the mechanism” (For the Love of the Game) and those types of things…..Lots of elite athletes use meditation and guided imagery to enhance performanceBut if you are experiencing difficulties with stress I can run you through some of these techniques right in the office

Mental Health for the Student Athlete Mental Health for the Student Athlete Presentation Transcript