JED Voices Video: Anastasia Vlasova
Anastasia Vlasova learned at an early age the critical importance of opening up about mental health. Fortunately, she was able to seek the help she ...
When the high-pressure world of youth sports meets the ongoing and escalating teen and young adult mental health crisis, the results are troubling. Student-athletes are experiencing exhaustion, anxiety, and depression at increasing rates. During the early days of the pandemic there was a worrisome number of high school athlete suicides and in spring 2022, at least five high-profile college student-athletes died by suicide in the span of two months. In 2021, the suicide rate among 15–24-year-olds rose 7%, the largest increase of any age group. Now more than ever, there is an increased urgency to provide young adults with mental health support and sports teams offer a powerful place to do that.
That’s why The Jed Foundation (JED) and Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) Hosted a Webinar, Winning at What Cost? The Mental Health Crisis Facing Today’s Student Athletes. Moderator Tony Reali, host of ESPN’s Around the Horn and a passionate mental health advocate, spoke with Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth, JED’s Chief Medical Officer, and Marti Reed, PCA’s Director of National Partnerships & DEI Programming Manager, about concrete ways coaches, parents, and players can safeguard the emotional well-being of high school athletes.
“Some examples include being really specific when asking if something is going on. That’s super important for young people on sports teams, especially, when they feel like they have this pressure to perform and to succeed and to always be strong,” said JED’S Chief Medical Officer Dr. Laura Erickson-Schroth. “Set the precedent by modeling your own behavior and showing that you know how to deal with your own emotions and have those necessary coping skills, too. This will allow you to offer that space where a young person can be open. And, remember to ask for help. Coaches need to learn about resources, beforehand, by connecting with other people or the counseling center at your school. Be ready to support your athletes.”
JED and Positive Coaching Alliance are founding members of the Choose Kindness Alliance, a group of twenty leading national nonprofits committed to the mission of the Choose Kindness Project. This year-long initiative, which is supported by ABC, ESPN, and the Walton Family Foundation, is dedicated to inspiring a more inclusive world where all young people feel empowered to be themselves and safe to create the futures they imagine.
We hope you will watch the webinar and download the resources below to support your coaches, staff, and students in prioritizing mental health and creating a culture of care on—and off—the field.
The Jed Foundation (JED)
Positive Coaching Alliance
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.
You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.
If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.