The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Mental health resources available for student-athletes

Risk of depression among student athletes over 15%
Counseling as well as Cougar Health Services available for student athletes facing mental health challenges

For WSU student-athletes struggling with mental health, WSU Athletics and Cougar Health Services can provide help.

At the moment, “the prevalence of the risk of depression in collegiate student-athletes ranges from 15.6% to 33.2%, with first-year students and females typically reporting more symptoms,” according to findings from the National Library of Medicine.

These numbers are consistent among college students nationally, as another report from the NLM states, “48.14% [of college students] suffered from moderate to severe depression [and] 38.48% experienced moderate to severe anxiety.”

Through WSU Athletics, counselors are available who specialize in mental health with athletes’ mental health, and the various sports departments have access to athletic trainers who can help them connect with different mental health options, including Cougar Health resources.

“When athletes come to me, expressing concerns, I generally try to talk to them first, try and gauge what they’re feeling, what the level of risk is, and all that information,” said Delaney Jamison, WSU Spirit athletic trainer. “I usually refer them to one of our physicians. I usually go with them to that appointment, and that is where they can talk about what they’re looking for, whether they need to talk it out, have counseling options, or medication.”

For athletes, athletic trainers and athletic counselors can help connect them to mental health resources, and the university presents options when it comes to counseling and medication if necessary, Jamison said.

“My philosophy as an [athletic trainer] is to treat the whole athlete and not just their injury. If they are struggling or need to talk, I have an open-door policy,” Jamison said. “I’m not a counselor by any means, but I try to be an open ear or a shoulder to cry on and help them figure out the next steps.”

Counselors are also a major resource for athletes, she said. In addition to access to athletic counselors, Cougar Health Services also provides access to additional resources. The ability to choose treatment options is a huge benefit for athletes.

“WSU does a really good job providing help with mental health, they provide a lot of different resources to connect athletes with the help they might need,” said WSU cheerleader Peyton Wilson. “School is already stressful enough, and staying on top of athletics is an added stressor. You have to balance more and it takes up more time, which can really weigh on your mental health.”

Wilson said balancing life, school, friends and athletics can take a toll on mental health. Struggling mentally can take a toll on athletic performance as well.

“If you’re not focused on what you’re doing at the moment because of how you’re feeling mentally, it can really affect how you perform, and if you perform to your fullest ability,” Wilson said.

The athlete’s mental health is very important, Jamison said. Balancing the different aspects of life, especially for those who may not be familiar with balancing stress or being so busy, can be very mentally tolling.

“I definitely think mental health should be a priority, and I know sometimes it’s not; collegiate athletics can sometimes have a ‘leave it at the door’ mentality. I think a lot of it comes down to team and coaching culture,” Jamison said. “If coaches make it a priority to emphasize to their athletes to take care of themselves outside of practice and emphasize that they are not alone in their mental struggles, conversations about mental health might feel like more of a priority.”

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About the Contributor
KYRIE ROLLINS, Evergreen illustrator
Kyrie Rollins is a graphic illustrator for the Daily Evergreen. They are in their third year at Washington State University double majoring in Digital Technology & Culture and Fine Arts. They’re born and raised in Pullman and are ready to represent this town!