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When Do Athletes Seek Mental Health Support & How?

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04/23/2023
newswise.com

Newswise —

A more sturdy research methodology could enhance comprehension of athletes' encounters with mental health support and their perspectives toward these services.

Professionals from the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham intend to evaluate present research on athletes' seeking of mental health assistance, proposing that conducting research to consolidate current knowledge is a crucial subsequent measure.

Compared to non-athletes, athletes exhibit a decreased tendency to seek aid for mental health concerns, and they may confront obstacles such as limited service accessibility or past unfavorable encounters while seeking assistance.

While experts recognize the available sources of support, which include healthcare, sports-related contexts, and higher education systems, the means by which athletes obtain access to these resources and their encounters with them are not as comprehensively understood.

As the seeking of mental health assistance by athletes is a relatively recent topic of research, a review of current studies that could guide forthcoming research directions would be a vital subsequent measure, given that fresh evidence is continually emerging.

The plan, which was published in BMJ Open, delineates the strategy for a scoping review that will facilitate the more distinct identification of knowledge gaps and offer recommendations for additional research.

Kirsty Brown, who spearheaded the investigation, stated: "Athletes are recognized to experience comparable levels of problems such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders as the overall populace; nevertheless, they have lesser rates of seeking assistance for mental health. Hence, a substantial proportion of athletes are presumably not receiving the assistance they require, so comprehending how and when athletes seek help, and their experience of using services, is truly crucial."

The BMJ protocol delineates distinct phases for a comprehensive research program that encompasses an examination of athletes' perception of the ease of accessing services, their willingness to seek support, and whether they prefer to receive aid from within the sport environment or turn to coaches for assistance.

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