A Content Analysis of Mental Health Literacy Education for Sport Coaches

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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  • 1 Prevention Strategies, LLC, Jamestown, NC, USA
  • | 2 The Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness, University of North Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC, USA
  • | 3 Sport Performance and Psychology Laboratory, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • | 4 Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
  • | 5 Limitless Living Counseling and Consulting, PLLC, Greensboro, NC, USA
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Sport coaches can play an influential role in athletes’ mental health help seeking through purposeful communication, destigmatization of mental health concerns, and supportive relationships. To positively engage in these behaviors, coaches require mental health knowledge (or literacy), positive attitudes about that knowledge, and self-efficacy to use that knowledge. Guided by a multidimensional health literacy framework, we conducted a content analysis of web content and scholarly literature to identify health education programming for coaches that addressed athlete mental health. A purposive sample of Olympic National Governing Bodies, collegiate athletic associations, high school sport associations, youth sport governing bodies, and the scholarly literature were analyzed. We found inconsistent programming regarding a range of mental health disorders, behaviors critical to mental health promotion, and critical components of mental health literacy. Implications and next steps for mental health literacy support for coaches are discussed.

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