Competitive Athletes' Experiences With Mental Illness And Psychological Treatment
thesisposted on 24.05.2021, 09:29 authored by Rachel Jewett
The purpose of the study was to explore the role of sport culture in athlete mental health, the importance of mental healthcare providers having an understanding of this context, and how athletes tend to access mental healthcare. Ten athletes with personal experience in these domains were interviewed and a thematic analysis was used. Athletes who attributed their mental health challenges to their sport participation thought it was important for their mental healthcare providers to have experience with sport. Normalization and validation of mental illness within the sport context and understanding competitive sport culture were identified as important. Facilitators of care access included a supportive cultural environment and influential individuals. Barriers included stigma and the financial cost of treatment. Coaches influenced athletes’ attitudes toward help-seeking. Implications for assessment and treatment of mental illness in athletes are discussed. Future research should explore gender, race, and ethnicity in athletes’ experiences with mental illness.