Title

Help-Seeking Behaviors Of Student Athletes

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Safety & Violence Prevention

Relevance

Our study depicts the constricted feelings regarding seeking counseling assistance in a collegiate student-athletic environment. It exposes the reality of a stigma around mental health among people in this population also. Therefore, it is related to creating a safe space and student-athlete’s mental well-being strands of the National Youth at Risk Conference theme.

Brief Program Description

The objective of our presentation is to reveal the stigma that exists among athletes regarding seeking help for mental health issues, and promote the reduced stigmatization of this behavior within this population. We are advocating for a safer environment for athletes. We hope to communicate this idea to coaches and teachers who have a great likelihood of interacting with student athletes.

Summary

Student athletes face an exceptional amount of stressors in their day to day lives. These individuals play dual roles, and therefore experience a proportionate level of expected results. As students they strive to obtain academic superiority and as athletes they strive for division titles and progressive achievement (Wilson & Prichard, 2005). A review of recent research on student-athlete populations uncovered a stigmatization of mental health, and the overall mentality that seeking help is weakness (Birkly, 2007; Watson, 2005). The purpose of this research was to evaluate help seeking behaviors of student athletes at Savannah State University, and also if this population considered asking for help a weakness. Our hypothesis was that student athletes who see seeking help as a weakness would be the least likely to seek help. To test this hypothesis, sixty student athletes (n=60) were administered a survey regarding their willingness to seek help for mental health issues. The instrument was composed of twenty-three questions, responses were documented using a Likert Scale (α = 0.846). We found the null hypothesis to be accepted. Of the student athletes who designated seeking help for personal issues often/always a weakness 63% had high help seeking behaviors (P=0.018, X2=5.584a). It is recommended that mental health education for leadership and coaches in athletic programs be implemented to reduce the idea that seeking help is a weakness, and that these key leaders conduct a presentation to student athletes about mental health services. It is also recommended to provide student athletes a bill of rights to assure them that they will be taken care of, even they may need mental health assistance. Finally we are advocating for policy that would require maximum communication with student athletes about mental health concerns, just as it does for physical health concerns.

Evidence

In a report released in 2007 by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the equity of mental and physical health is expressed. Treating athletes’ mental health concerns is considered to have priority, along with physical health concerns. The report includes best practices for NCAA teams regarding mental health concerns. Another report released by NCAA (called the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook) also discusses the need for a beneficial relationship between NCAA teams and counseling centers on campuses.

National Collegiate Athletics Association. (2006). NCAA sports medicine handbook. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/uhs/pdfs/NCAA%20Sports%20Medicine%20Handbook%2006-07.pdfDepression: Interventions for Intercollegiate Athletics. NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook. 2006

Thompson, R. A., Sherman, R. T. (2007). Managing student-athletes’ mental health issues. Retrieved from http://www.princeton.edu/uhs/pdfs/NCAA%20Managing%20Student-Athletes%20Mental%20Health%20Issues.pdf

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Linda Stafford obtained a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Science (major: Health Education and Promotion and minor: in Sociology) from Georgia Southern University in 2013. She is now working on a Masters in Social Work at Savannah State University. Recently Mrs. Stafford was granted entrance into a Behavioral Health Specialization Program at Savannah State, and has committed to working with transitional-age youth following her graduation from the master’s program. Her field of interest is addiction treatment. Mrs. Stafford also serves as Vice President and Planning Committee Chair of the Social Work program’s student organization, and is currently interning at Heads Up Guiding Services in Savannah, Georgia.

Brittney Lollis obtained a Bachelor’s of Science from Savannah State University (Savannah, Ga) in May of 2010 with a major in Behavior Analysis. Brittney obtained employment at Recovery Place Inc. in November of 2012. She began working with the Chatham County DUI Court program as a substance abuse counselor. In February of 2015 she became certified by the state of Georgia as a Certified Addictions Counselor level 1 (CACI). She has since started working with the Women’s Ready For Work/TANF Program. She is also the Therapeutic Child Care Coordinator for the children who reside with their mother at the residential facility. Brittney is currently working on a Masters of Social Work at Savannah State University. Ms. Lollis has recently was accepted in the Behavioral Health Specialization Program at Savannah State. Her career goals are to work with transitioning youth who struggle with substance use and mental health issues upon receiving her degree. Brittney volunteers with a local youth outreach program, My Sister’s Keeper. Speaking to middle school and high school students about drug use and mental health maintenance.

Dr. Shinaz G. Jindani is a Professor of Social work and is also the Masters of Social Work Program Coordinator for the Department of Social Work at Savannah State University.

Keyword Descriptors

student-athletes, mental health, help-seeking behaviors, college athletes, social work

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

Help-Seeking Behaviors Of Student Athletes

Harborside Center

The objective of our presentation is to reveal the stigma that exists among athletes regarding seeking help for mental health issues, and promote the reduced stigmatization of this behavior within this population. We are advocating for a safer environment for athletes. We hope to communicate this idea to coaches and teachers who have a great likelihood of interacting with student athletes.