Student-Athletes Aren’t Immune from Suicide Risk. Colleges Are Taking Notice.
July 07, 2023
Colleges are increasing mental health supports for student athletes. These efforts follow the recent suicide deaths of college athletes and a survey that found this group is experiencing more mental health challenges since the pandemic began. In the past, it was thought that student athletes were less at risk than their peers due to the mental health boosts of exercise and being part of a team. However, athletes may experience stressors that their peers do not, such as the pressure to perform well during games, prevent injury, and juggle athletics and schoolwork. Now, colleges are taking steps to increase support for student athletes, such as hiring more mental health counselors and establishing campus-wide postvention programs. Some schools are also working with The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that runs prevention programs for teens and young adults. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the athletics department has expanded its mental health services for student athletes, offering scheduled appointments as well as outreach during practices, training sessions, and competitions. “Gone are the days when we sit in our office and wait for people to knock on the door and talk to us,” said David Lacocque, the department’s director of mental health and sport psychology.
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