Youth mental health is in crisis and we do not have adequate providers to treat the current burden of illness. We must identify innovative approaches to support youth mental health that utilize the existing infrastructure and can be administered by non-clinicians. While sports are predominantly a positive outlet for youth, they also bring stressors due to experiences with failure, injury and challenging time commitments, and thus provide an ideal laboratory to develop coping skills for managing stress.
This project aims to build psychological resilience in high school athletes by adapting an intervention developed for youth with chronic illness (PRISM). The intervention will be delivered through the coach via an educational platform with five modules: 1) background/ psychoeducation; 2) creating a supportive team culture; 3) stress management (breathing exercises, visualization and mindfulness); 4) mindset (goal setting, cognitive reframing and meaning making); and 5) fueling the machine (sleep and nutrition). The team will utilize a community-engaged research process to adapt the PRISM approach to an athletic space, using the term “Mentally Strong” to center it in the sport context, and will partner with youth athletes and coaches to ensure the tools we develop support their needs. The Mentally Strong approach has the potential to increase the emotional literacy of a broad swath of high school youth beyond the athletic environment, enhancing their ability to negotiate the acute and chronic stressors they encounter in daily life. The ultimate goal of the project is to prevent the outcomes which occur with negative emotional coping—including depression, anxiety, substance use, burnout, violence, withdrawal from school and even suicide.
January 1, 2023 — December 31, 2023
Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions
General Mental Well-Being