“SPEAKING TO TEAMMATES, COACHES, OR TRAINED PROFESSIONALS IS A GREAT WAY TO LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS.”

ADELAIDE AQUILLA

OSU & TEAM USA OLYMPIC ATHLETE

BEING AN ATHLETE CAN BE TOUGH

BEING A STUDENT-ATHLETE IS EVEN HARDER

There’s a lot of pressure to perform, to succeed, to balance school work, to find time for a social life.

Pressure like that can build. And, if unchecked, can push students to make harmful and even out-of-character decisions to cope with that stress.

Young athletes need support. And it doesn’t have to come from a professional. Small actions, like taking an interest in their lives, checking in on their mental health, and offering them resources, can go a long way in keeping them safe and healthy.

MEET THE ATHLETES
READ THEIR STORIES
HOW TO COPE WHEN STRESSED

TIPS FOR DEALING WITH GENERAL STRESS

Here are a few simple tips for dealing with daily or life-related stress:

  • ASK FOR HELP – It’s okay to reach out to friends, parents, teachers or coaches for support.
  • TRY JOURNALING – If you’re not sure how to talk about how your feelings, write about them.
  • TAKE IT SERIOUSLY – Treat your mental health with the same priority as your physical health.
  • TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY – Focus on getting the sleep and food as your body needs.
  • TREAT YOURSELF – Take time to do something just for fun like reading, gaming, or hanging with friends.
  • TRY MINDFULNESS – Meditation or even just deep breathing when you’re feeling especially stressed.
  • SPEND TIME OUTSIDE – Some vitamin D and time around nature can improve your mood.
TO IMPROVE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR MENTAL WELLBEING SUGGESTS A FEW SIMPLE TOOLS

  • GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP.
  • FOCUSING ON YOUR STRENGTHS.
  • DOING THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY.
  • ENGAGING IN PHYSICAL ACTIVITY.
  • TALKING TO SOMEONE.

Visit thenationalcouncil.org to learn more about them and how to approach mental wellbeing.

WHAT TO DO

IF YOUR ATHLETE IS STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH

STEPS TO HELP


If you think a student is struggling with their mental health or with substance abuse, here are three steps. Find ways to talk about mental health as part of your daily lives, before serious issues arise.

1

RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS

Everyone reacts differently to the pressures of life, but common signs include:

  • SADNESS OR WITHDRAWAL that last longer than 2 weeks
  • SELF-HARM, attempted self-harm, or plans to self-harm
  • FEAR FOR NO REASON, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • CONFLICT WITH OTHERS, desire to harm others
  • Severe, uncharacteristic wild, and ERRATIC BEHAVIOR
  • CHANGES TO EATING HABITS, including loss of appetite, throwing up, or use of medication to lose weight
  • FEAR AND ANXIETY strong enough to interfere with daily routines
  • CHANGES IN CONCENTRATION and difficulties staying still, leading to disruption of school or activities
  • DRASTIC CHANGES IN MOOD and problems with relationships
  • SUDDEN CHANGES IN BEHAVIOR

2

FIND A WAY TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH

It can be a hard subject, but a few overarching tips offer a bridge to someone who is feeling sad, isolated, or confused.

  • DEMONSTRATE INTEREST – Showing you care means a lot. So even raising the subject directly or indirectly can be an important first step.
  • OFFER RESOURCES – Let them know there are a lot of tools and people available to help.
  • ASK QUESTIONS – Understand what’s going on in their world.
  • PROVIDE RELIEF – Offering to help with other tasks can remove external stressors and allow them to focus on their health.
  • EDUCATE – Mental health is often under-discussed. Communicating the facts, especially that it’s normal and common, is important.

Figuring out a way to bring up the topic itself can be hard. The right opening words can be the difference between a genuine conversation and slammed door.

Putting the person, their happiness, and health at the front of the conversation is important. Equally as important is letting them know you care and that they can talk to you or someone else.

Visit MentalHealth.gov and Mental Health America to find recommended language and phrases.

3

GET HELP

If a person is facing a serious crisis, especially involving feelings of self-harm or harm to others, getting professional help is crucial.

THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

You can also find local resources at MentalHealth.gov.

“GET INVOLVED. SOMETHING AS SIMPLE AS SHOWING AN INTEREST IN YOUR YOUNG ATHLETE’S LIFE CAN CREATE A DIALOGUE FOR SOMEONE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL HEALTH.”


PATRICK BROWN

FORMER PRO CFL PLAYER

LET’S TALK ABOUT SUBSTANCES

HOW TO HELP WITHOUT DRIVING THEM AWAY

Talking about substance abuse is hard. Judgement and stigma around substance use can push teens further away. Taking preventative measures like those listed below can keep teens safe.

1

TAKE PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

Talking about drug usage before it occurs can reduce the likelihood of future abuse.

2

KEEP THE CONVERSATION CENTERED AROUND THEIR WELL-BEING

Starting these conversations early and being frank and honest is important. Keep their health at the forefront of the conversation.

3

AVOID MORALIZING

During teenage years, rejecting authority isn’t uncommon. Framing substance use conversations around morals can turn young people off to discussing it further.

For a more in-depth look at how to start talking to youth about substance use from an early age through high school, visit Hazelden Betty Ford.

NOW WHAT?

RESOURCES FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH SUBSTANCE USE

RESOURCES

If you or someone you love is in need of substance use counseling, there are many resources out there.

Resources are available for all different types of people and many are free.

NATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINE
988 or online chat

THE TREVOR PROJECT
(LGBTQ YOUTH)
(866) 488-6386
text ‘Start’ to 678-678
or visit their website for online chat

FRANKLIN COUNTY YOUTH
Mental Health Resources

FRANKLIN COUNTY YOUTH
Addiction Services

SAMHSA
Treatement Finder

NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL
(Youth 17 and under in Crisis)
(614) 722-1800

FRANKLIN COUNTY SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE
(614) 221-5445
or visit their website