Mental health is important. But what if we take it one step further and focus on mental health for athletes? Obviously, every specific group of people ever to exist can benefit from mental health awareness, but a high school student in New Mexico felt passionate about honing in on something that is important to her. So she set out to make that change. She writes,
“Growing up in athletics, I’ve observed a high amount of stigma and harm surrounding the mental health of youth athletes in my hometown. Specifically, I’ve had extensive experiences with abusive coaching, toxic environments, and lack of access to mental health resources. I’ve also had many friends who experienced these same issues as they participated in youth athletics. Many coaches, sports organizations, and professionals are ill-informed when it comes to caring for the mental health of youth athletes.”
“My solution is to create a local nonprofit dedicated to prioritizing the mental health of adolescent athletes. This is a need I see in our community and after extensively looking, I don’t feel there are any other organizations doing the work locally (or even nationally) to fill this need.”
“I deserve this scholarship because not only have I researched this topic extensively, but I’ve already put in actionable steps to attain success in this project. I’ve written a 4,000 word thesis concerning the mental health of female athletes and read countless pieces of literature in the field. Additionally, I have met with professionals and designed a website for my project already.”
“Furthermore, this project is a very niche but very necessary one. While there are many organizations that support youth mental health in the U.S., there are little to none that support the mental health of youth athletes. This is despite the fact that research shows how important it is to provide this support for youth athletes.”
We’re cheering on this student not only in her sports but in her advocacy for mental health for her peers as well.