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The Prevalence of Depressive and Anxiety Symptoms in Student-Athletes and the Relationship With Resilience and Help-Seeking Behavior

Breanna Drew and James Matthews

The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence of depressive and anxiety symptoms within student-athletes and to examine protective factors which may act as a buffer against mental ill-health. A cross-sectional design was employed. A sample of 185 student-athletes (M = 20.77; SD = .50; 35% female) agreed to take part. Participants completed measures of depression, anxiety, psychological resilience and formal and informal help-seeking behavior. Thirty one percent of student-athletes reported moderate to severe symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. Student-athletes who reported requiring professional help for problems were more likely to record moderate to severe symptoms of depression and anxiety. Student-athletes who did not seek informal support were more likely to report symptom levels for depression outside the normal range. Higher resilience scores were associated with lower symptom reporting for both depression and anxiety. Practical implications for supporting student-athletes’ mental health across institutional, interpersonal and intrapersonal levels are discussed.

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Mental Health Literacy Workshop for Youth Sport Coaches: A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study

Breanna J. Drew, Jordan T. Sutcliffe, Sarah K. Liddle, Mark W. Bruner, Colin D. McLaren, Christian Swann, Matthew J. Schweickle, and Stewart A. Vella

Among other responsibilities, youth sport coaches are positioned to monitor and address the mental health needs of their athletes. Despite this, there are limited interventions aimed at improving coaches’ mental health literacy. Using a mixed-methods design, the aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and mental health literacy outcomes associated with a brief (75 min) workshop for youth sport coaches. Fourteen coaches (13 males, one female) completed pre- and postworkshop surveys measuring indices of mental health literacy, and 10 of these same participants engaged in a semistructured interview 1-month later. Overall, coaches who participated in the pilot workshop reported significant improvements in depression literacy, intentions to seek self-help for oneself and their athletes, and knowledge and confidence to provide help. In addition, coaches reported positive impressions of the workshop during the follow-up interviews and provided concrete examples of program content application. An important suggestion made by coaches was the need to align the workshop content to governing policy. Taken together, this pilot mental health literacy workshop for youth sport coaches shows strong promise and is ready for large-scale dissemination.