Athletes mental health matters

Schools should pay more attention to athletes mental health


Schools always encourage students to join extracurricular activities, especially sports. While there are multiple reasons to be involved in a school sport, it also can come with a lot of consequences. 


Student athletes give a lot of time to their sport. And on top of practices and games, they have to finish their school work, properly balance their diet and also find time to spend with family and friends. All the activities in their lives can quickly become too stressful for students, but schools just don’t seem to care about it. 


 Mental health in these students are often overlooked by school boards, and this can lead to athletic and academic burnout, mental health issues like depression and even suicide. 


According to a study done by the NCAA in 2021, rates of mental exhaustion, anxiety and depression have seen little change since fall 2020 and remain 1.5 to two times higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic. Student athletes are at more risk of anxiety than normal students because of their busy schedules. Schools don’t pay attention to the fact that athletes are getting burned out and they definitely don’t pay attention to cries for help from their athletes. 


In the first five months of 2022, at least three college athletes were reported dead because of suicide. These athletes, Katie Meyer, Sarah Schulz and Lauren Bennett, were three outstanding athletes at different colleges in the span of seven weeks. Schools always say that they want students to succeed in and out of school, but they don’t seem to care how a student gets there. 


While some may argue that the NCAA is making strides to help student athletes with their mental health, it’s far overdue. According to the same study conducted by the NCAA, 38% of female athletes and 22% of male student athletes reported feeling mentally exhausted constantly or most every day. 


Schools around the U.S. have continually reported suicides and mental health issues in student athletes, but nothing is changing on how they approach it.  After the pandemic, mental health is something that should be more focused on than the physical health of athletes. Mental health issues can easily have a snowball effect, where in the end the athlete can end up hurting themself or others. 


Student athletes’ mental health should be focused on just as much as their physical health. Athletic departments always preach that athletes need to take care of their bodies properly in and out of season. Most of the time, that only involves their physical health. As suicide rates climb among student athletes, schools need to start taking more action to tend to those crying out for help.