Don't miss another ISSP event at the 2018 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting!
In the Classroom and on the Field: Improving Mental Health Care for Collegiate Student Athletes
Caucus on College Mental Health
Chair: Bettina U Bohle-Frankel, M.D.
Presenters: Courtney Albinson, PhD; Mehak Chopra, DO; Julie Sutcliffe, PsyD; Douglas Noordsy, MD; Francesco Dandekar, MD
According to the NCAA there are more than 460,000 collegiate student athletes in the US. They are constantly juggling academic and athletic demands. Although they are no more likely to suffer from mental illness than other students, athletes face unique challenges: a culture that expects problems be “fixed” quickly, stigma regarding mental illness and “being weak,” NCAA rules, and team/coach dynamics. Athletes are supported and monitored closely by sports medicine physicians and athletic trainers who often see them daily and receive third party information from teammates and coaches. Close cooperation with sports medicine can facilitate referral to mental health care and help with compliance and monitoring. Athletes are often motivated to receive care in order to improve performance. This creates an opening to address the mental health issues that frequently are at the root of poor performance. In 2016, the NCAA published a consensus statement for best practices in mental health care recognizing the crucial importance for athletes’ well-being. This focus on mental health has led to universities creating different models of mental health care and the creation of new positions for sport psychologists. A higher demand for psychiatrists with expertise in the field, either in university positions or in private practice, will likely follow. This workshop will describe innovative health care models developed at Northwestern and Stanford Universities to improve athletes’ mental health and overall well-being. We will start by reviewing stressors for this population such as coping with academic and athletic demands, injuries, performance struggles, and poor sleep and nutrition. Using clinical cases, common disorders will be discussed including post-concussion syndrome, ADHD and eating disorders. There will be a focus on how to collaborate with sports medicine in order to improve compliance and to facilitate a higher level of care when needed. We will consider how different interventions affect the athlete’s eligibility for sports participation, such as medical leave of absence, red-shirting and the reduction of the student’s course load. Specific aspects of medication use in this population will be examined such as the impact of side effects on performance, required documentation for the NCAA and timing with regards to being “in season” for the athlete’s sport. Finally, participants will work on vignettes to illustrate the complicated interchange between sports psychologists, psychiatrists, athletic trainers, sports medicine physicians and sports dietitians. Presenters will include two college sport psychologists, including the current president of the Society for Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology of the American Psychological Association, a fellow in college mental health psychiatry, a psychiatry resident and two psychiatrists.