Mental Health EAP

Do you have a Mental Health EAP? Have you planned what to do in the event of a suicide threat or attempt?

The secondary setting is harder because we are dealing with minors

A good understanding of mental health

Video from YouTube – For NCAA student Athletes’ Mental health: a more educated approach

NCAA Sports Science Institute mental health awareness

According to the WHO it is a state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities.

Mental illness refers to diagnosable mental disorders and health conditions

There is a stigma that it is a weakness

Myths about Mental health:

1 – 

2 – Children do not get mental health issues – 75% begin before age 24

3 – personality weakness or character flaws cause them

4 – I can not do anything for a person with mental health problems

Examples of Mental disorders


Eating disorders

Major depression


Adjustment disorder

Social anxiety

Bipolar disorder

Substance abuse

Co-existing learning disabilities


Autism spectrum

Chronic Medical illness



Relationship Abuse

Sexual Assault

Gender Dysphoria

Unexpected Pregnancy


Undiagnosed medical issue

Stressors affecting athletes

Team culture

Pressure to perform

Balancing demands

ID based on performance

Injury causes isolation or forced retirement

Burnout due to early specialization

Poor performance

“I can’t show weakness”

Dealing with injured athletes:


What does the injury mean to the athlete?

What is your team and AT Clinic culture?

Educate about the diagnosis

Correct any misinformation

Provide a road map for recovery

“Dr. google is a big problem in my world”

An emotional response to an injury is normal




Lack of motivation



Changes in appetite

Sleep disturbance


Response to injury

Stress can lead to increased injury, muscle tension, poor concentration, and performance

Can trigger depression

Problematic emotional responses

Persistent symptoms

Worsening symptoms

Excessive symptoms

Summary of possible symptoms

Barriers to care:


Poor understanding

Difficulty willing to express

Lack of time



Worried about it affecting play

Not accessible


  • Increased awareness
  • Social support
  • Encouragement from others
  • Accessibility
  • A positive relationship with staff
  • Confidentiality
  • Time
  • Integration into athlete life
  • Positive past experiences
  • Ease of expressing emotion

Treating injured Athletes

  • Rapport is key
  • Supportive culture
  • Respect privacy
  • Acknowledge and understand their identity may be tied to athletics
  • May be the first injury for them
  • Be on alert for red flags

Mental Health EAP TIPS

Interview the athletes away from other athletes or with another staff member if possible

Ask open-ended questions

If the concern is self-harm be blunt

Actively listen and allow them to talk without interruption



Any talk of self-harm or suicide

Talking about hopelessness and empty

Making a plan for killing themselves

Talking about great guilt or shame.

Suicide hotline

5 steps graphic