Coach up the coaches: extending the reach of mental health professionals in sport settings

Project Type(s):

Principal Investigator(s):

More than half of school-aged youth in the US play at least one organized sport, are similarly at-risk for mental health disorders as compared to their non-athlete peers, and face heightened barriers to seeking and sustaining mental health care. While coaches are not licensed mental healthcare providers, there is a robust evidence-base about laypeople (e.g., parents, teachers) effectively delivering brief interventions across population settings to help reduce psychological distress and increase the adoption of health behaviors. However, such brief interventions have not as-yet been adapted for the sport setting, or delivered by coaches.

The overarching goal of this project is to identify sport setting appropriate (very) brief interventions and adapt them for coach delivery in the sport setting. This will be accomplished by working in partnership with coaches, athletes, and licensed mental health care providers. We will use University of Washington’s First Approach Skills Training (FAST) training model (originally designed to train primary care clinicians in mental healthcare skills) to train a pilot cohort of coaches to deliver these interventions. This project is the starting point for a potentially transformative opportunity to extend the reach of mental healthcare professionals into the large and often underserved population of youth sport participants.

Project Period:
January 1, 2024 December 31, 2024

Funding Type(s):

Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions

Geographic Area(s):
King County

Practice Type(s):
Community-Based Organizations

Patient Population(s):
Adolescents, Adults, Children

Targeted Condition(s):
Anxiety, Depression, General Mental Well-Being