Athletes Connected: Results From a Pilot Project to Address Knowledge and Attitudes About Mental Health Among College Student-Athletes

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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Student-athletes experience mental health problems, but they often encounter barriers to seeking help. This study reports findings from the pilot phase of Athletes Connected (AC), a new research and practice program at the University of Michigan addressing mental health and help-seeking behaviors among collegiate student-athletes. Members of the AC team gave presentations consisting of contact- and education-based interventions to every varsity athletic team at a large Division I Midwestern university, along with pre- and postsurvey questionnaires to measure their efficacy. The presentations included an educational overview of mental health, two videos highlighting former student-athletes’ struggles with mental illnesses, and a discussion at the end with the former athletes portrayed in the videos. A total of 626 student-athletes completed the pre- and postsurveys. Results indicated significant increases in knowledge and positive attitudes toward mental health and help-seeking. These results suggest that brief contact- and education-based interventions may be helpful in reducing stigma and promoting help-seeking behavior among college student-athletes.

Kern, Heininger, and Eisenberg are with the School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Klueh and Hansen are with the Dept. of Athletics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Salazar is with the Depression Center, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Meyer is with the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Address author correspondence to Adam Kern at adamkern@umich.edu