Barriers To Help

Sportgo believes every athlete, coach and parent in the sports community should have access to tools that educate, prepare and build confidence in the area of mental health and wellness. The Mind At Play initiative is to be a globally reaching initiative designed to provide a barrier free, comprehensive approach to mental health and wellness resources for athletes, coaches and parents. Sportgo is not the ‘subject matter expert’ but is instead dedicated to sharing access to the best information available and resources to promote mental well-being.



Reaching out for help when facing a mental health challenge is tough for an athlete.

Get informed and help someone break down the barriers to finding better mental health.




The common barriers to getting help for a mental illness are:

There is a harmful notion that toughness is equal to mental wellness. Athletes often feel as though they cannot speak out about their struggles without being perceived as weak. This leads to a ‘suck-it-up’ mentality, which makes it very difficult for them to talk about mental health.

As a result of stigma, athletes who seek psychological support can risk losing playing time, their starting position, or even their place on a team. It’s up to the others in the sport community, like coaches and teammates, to normalize talking about mental health and to make sport a place where every athlete is supported and is aware that going it alone is never a good game plan.

When someone is facing a mental illness, it can be both difficult to identify the issue and to find where to seek support. Athletes are often afraid that teammates and coaches will find out if they seek mental health services – they do not want to be considered weak so they choose to suffer in silence instead of getting help. Even coaches choose not to use sport psychology services for themselves or their athletes for fear of being negatively labeled by having psychological problems.

It’s important to remember that everyone has mental health, and many of us will struggle with a mental illness in our lifetime. By showing your support and making the topic of mental health a comfortable conversation in locker rooms and both on and off the field, you can remove the obstacle of fear and shame that often stands in front of someone wanting to seek help.

While some high performance sports organizations have mental health awareness and protocols in place, most sport organizations/leagues provide little information and appropriate support for mental health issues that may arise. Athletes fail to seek support for mental health challenges because they feel that practitioners will not understand their unique needs and sport culture as competitive athletes.

Due to athletes’ specific training programs, peaking and recovery periods, diet regimens, travelling schedules, and multidisciplinary support teams, psychologists and any member of the mental health care team must recognize that there are nuances to caring for athletes with mental health challenges that are typically irrelevant in non-athlete populations.

Given complex performance demands, expectations, early specialization, and year-round training, it is important to be aware that participation in competitive sport may actually increase athletes’ risk of experiencing mental health challenges. Other sport-specific factors (ex. coaching style, pressure to win, injuries, transitions in and out of sport) can exacerbate existing psychological challenges or trigger the development of new ones, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and exercise addiction.

Mental wellness skills (Life Skills) are often not taught to athletes, despite the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of such skills. These essential life skills must be offered; both on-and-off the playing field, in order for athletes to be at their optimal mental health. Start learning skills now.

The common barriers to getting help for a mental illness are:

There is a harmful notion that toughness is equal to mental wellness. Athletes often feel as though they cannot speak out about their struggles without being perceived as weak. This leads to a ‘suck-it-up’ mentality, which makes it very difficult for them to talk about mental health.

As a result of stigma, athletes who seek psychological support can risk losing playing time, their starting position, or even their place on a team. It’s up to the others in the sport community, like coaches and teammates, to normalize talking about mental health and to make sport a place where every athlete is supported and is aware that going it alone is never a good game plan.

When someone is facing a mental illness, it can be both difficult to identify the issue and to find where to seek support. Athletes are often afraid that teammates and coaches will find out if they seek mental health services – they do not want to be considered weak so they choose to suffer in silence instead of getting help. Even coaches choose not to use sport psychology services for themselves or their athletes for fear of being negatively labeled by having psychological problems.

It’s important to remember that everyone has mental health, and many of us will struggle with a mental illness in our lifetime. By showing your support and making the topic of mental health a comfortable conversation in locker rooms and both on and off the field, you can remove the obstacle of fear and shame that often stands in front of someone wanting to seek help.

While some high performance sports organizations have mental health awareness and protocols in place, most sport organizations/leagues provide little information and appropriate support for mental health issues that may arise. Athletes fail to seek support for mental health challenges because they feel that practitioners will not understand their unique needs and sport culture as competitive athletes.

Due to athletes’ specific training programs, peaking and recovery periods, diet regimens, travelling schedules, and multidisciplinary support teams, psychologists and any member of the mental health care team must recognize that there are nuances to caring for athletes with mental health challenges that are typically irrelevant in non-athlete populations.

Given complex performance demands, expectations, early specialization, and year-round training, it is important to be aware that participation in competitive sport may actually increase athletes’ risk of experiencing mental health challenges. Other sport-specific factors (ex. coaching style, pressure to win, injuries, transitions in and out of sport) can exacerbate existing psychological challenges or trigger the development of new ones, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and exercise addiction.

Mental wellness skills (Life Skills) are often not taught to athletes, despite the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of such skills. These essential life skills must be offered; both on-and-off the playing field, in order for athletes to be at their optimal mental health. Start learning skills now.






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