“So Many Mental Health Issues Go Unsaid”: Implications for Best Practice Guidelines From Student-Athletes’ Perspectives About Service Availability

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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Using the framework of multidisciplinary best practice recommendations promoted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, this study used a mixed-methods approach to investigate Division I student-athletes’ perceived access to and satisfaction with mental health service availability. Participants were asked about their satisfaction with direct (e.g., counseling, psychiatry, assessment) and indirect (e.g., mental health outreach, educational workshops) service availability, both on campus and within athletics. Results from a researcher-generated survey indicated that participants were moderately satisfied with service availability in each of the four contexts. Hierarchical multiple regressions revealed that student-athletes’ satisfaction was predicted by different factors for each service type-location combination. Qualitative data contained requests for more athlete-centered mental health services as well as more preventative outreach in general. These data provide a foundation for understanding factors that influence student-athletes’ satisfaction with mental health service availability and offer practical implications for current best practice recommendations.

The authors are with the Department of Sport Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Coker-Cranney is also with the Department of Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling, and Counseling Psychology; and the Honors College, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.

Way (wcway@mix.wvu.edu) is corresponding author.
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