PCA launches Developing Competitors and Mental Wellness Through Positive Coaching

Mental health is an important part of young people’s overall health and well-being. It affects how children think, feel, and act. It also plays a role in how children handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices (https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/data.html). Psychologist Lisa Damour explains that mental health “is not about feeling good. It’s about having the right feelings at the right time and being able to manage those feelings effectively.”

Unfortunately, many young people are struggling with their mental health and are unable to get the support they need.

In 2021, 42% of high school students reported feeling so sad or hopeless for at least two weeks in a row in the past year that they stopped doing their usual activities. This is an increase from 26% in 2009. Girls and LGBTQ+ young people are especially likely to report these feelings. Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, and actual suicides among young people have also risen during this time. Black children are nearly twice as likely as their white peers to die by suicide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and CDC statistics.

Today’s students feel pressures from many sources, like academic stress, climate change, gun violence, racism, and income inequality. They are also affected by social media, which can double the risk of mental health problems for the average teenager, according to a warning from the U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy.

We all have a role to play in supporting youth mental health and creating a world where young people thrive. Although teens are finding their independence and individuality, they still need support and connection. They often seek it out in people who are not their primary caregivers. This means that high school communities and sport organizations play an important role in fostering the type of connection that is so powerful in supporting mental health and well-being (https://kognito.com/blog/new-research-reveals-importance-of-connection-for-teen-mental-health/).

Solving the problem of declining mental health among adolescents will require many resources and strategies. Sports is one such environment that presents an opportunity for young people to build connections with caring, consistent adults and a supportive network of peers.  When they have relationships that meet their needs as they grow, young people gain protection from stress and gain resources that support their mental wellness. Coaches play a key role in creating a positive, equitable sport experience that presents these opportunities.

To support coaches in intentionally creating  an environment which supports young people’s mental wellness, PCA is launching Developing Competitors and Mental Wellness Through Positive Coaching. This new interactive workshop provides coaches tips and tools to create a positive sports environment where their athletes can feel safe, seen, heard, and valued. Together, we can support the mental wellness of our athletes as they develop as competitors and as people within our sports programs.

Sign up for this workshop today!