After the NCAA womens basketball season was canceled, along with all other winter and spring college sports, Carmen Tebbe Priebe headed to Carver-Hawkeye Arena anyway.
Shes a sports psychologist who works with the University of Iowa athletic department, and there she found gobsmacked players and coaches eating lunch, their final meal as a team.
Tebbe Priebe scanned their faces and began bracing not only for intense emotions, but for wide-ranging variability on how the news was being digested.
Most were in shock, their seasons or careers suddenly finished, and others were angry. A few, weary from balancing responsibilities and expectations from within the pressure-filled college sports machine, seemed relieved.
OK, Tebbe Priebe recalled thinking, she said in a telephone interview days later, whose identity is really wrapped up in athletics and is probably struggling right now? Who is going to a home situation thats probably not stable? Whos ready to move on? As a clinician, its this snapshot of everybodys story thats flickering in your mind, like: Where do I start?
College athletic programs only recently began making significant mental health resources available to athletes, another perk along with training tables and academic tutoring. But as the novel coronavirus pandemic has emptied campuses, dispersing nearly a half-million college athletes, its now another distant benefit at a time of high anxiety throughout the country.
The outbreak and ensuing stay-at-home guidelines have upended all aspects of college life: Students have moved back home, professors are teaching online, letter grades are getting ditched, and financial challenges have been exacerbated. Athletes facing the same abrupt transition must do so without the one activity that has been a constant since their middle school years or earlier.
Theres a multilayer crisis and a multilayer despair, said Alex Auerbach, the University of Arizonas director of clinical and sport psychology. I came here to compete, and this was supposed to be my best season, and now its being taken away from me. But I dont know how many of my teammates are coming back, so I dont know if I should come back or not. So all of those things are wrapped up in this experience, and the despair is wrapped up in making a decision and not having an answer because everyones trying to figure it out at the same time.
The NCAA does not regulate how programs approach mental health, and counselors who work for athletic departments face a challenging numbers game along with the occasional power struggle under normal circumstances. Chris Bader, who oversees the mental health and performance program at the University of Arkansas and is chair of the Collegiate Clinical/Counseling Sport Psychology Association, said his athletic department employs three full-time counselors, or one for every 155 athletes. Two decades ago at a different school, he said, the ratio was closer to 1,500 athletes for every counselor.
Regardless, the past few weeks have by no means been normal. Specialists, facing their own acute stresses, have scrambled to simulate a team environment and provide support during a catastrophe no one trained for. As much as anything, they are trying to remind coaches and athletes that even as theyre isolated, theyre not alone.
Im not really scared when theyre telling us theyre anxious, Bader said. Its the people I know are, who arent saying anything.
The day after the NCAA canceled all spring sports, Jamey Houle, one of four full-time mental health professionals in Ohio States athletic department, noticed an athlete fighting tears. She was a senior, her season and career finished, her future murky.
What am I going to do? she asked Houle, and this was among the first of many similar discussions in those blurry hours and days.
Like at Iowa, there was a range of colliding emotions, though the counselors interviewed for this story found themselves identifying a prevailing one: grief. All of it their playing careers, college experiences, justifications for putting off career decisions was just over. They thought theyd had more time.
Theres just anger and a sense of helplessness, said Houle, whose strategy in the beginning was to remind the athletes of their resilience and strength.
Nearly 2,000 miles away, Auerbach hurried to remind Arizonas athletes of the same. He reached out to athletes who had used the schools mental health services, then tried to think of clever ways to communicate with those who hadnt. He created a graphic and distributed it on social media, reminded coaches to mention the departments services during exit meetings and quickly scheduled a training for his staff on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant Zoom, the suddenly ubiquitous videoconferencing software.
Ive tried to go through every path humanly possible, Auerbach said. Weve just tried to remain as available as we possibly could.
Last year, Ohio State football coach Ryan Day aligned himself with an advocacy group tied to mental health awareness and revealed that his father had died by suicide. He became one of the latest of an increasing number of sports figures Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, Chamique Holdsclaw who have spoken publicly about their struggles with mental health. Three months ago, LeBron James announced a partnership with a meditation app and said he sometimes struggles to sleep, which is common among athletes and has been linked to anxiety and depression.
Last month, not long after the campus shutdowns, Day offered suggestions in a two-minute video posted to Twitter for how to stay mentally healthy during the outbreak. Such awareness and transparency is still developing in the sports world. Less than a decade ago, a sports psychologist was assigned to work with a Division I football program. The person was granted access to practice, though it came with conditions: Remain super top secret, the person would recall later, and speak only if spoken to.
After a few days, the psychologist was introduced to the teams defensive coordinator, who demanded an explanation for why the person was there.
Get the f--- out, the defensive coordinator said after listening for a moment about how mental wellness can enhance on-field performance.
Even years later, the psychologist requested anonymity because the sports world is small and the individual feared professional retribution. And, indeed, many counselors have their own tales of a run-in with a skeptical coach or administrator, along with the balancing act of working alongside some of the most powerful people in sports. One kept hearing about a coach who believed therapy only invited drama into his program, and another said a coach pushing him to share the details of a players confidential session happens every day.
In the past decade, though, athletic department staffs have dramatically expanded amid a nationwide rise in hyper-specialization. Coaches no longer act as nutritionist, sleep specialist and problem-solver, because at many major programs, theres a dedicated staffer for that. The NCAA adopted legislation in 2017 that prohibits coaches from making final decisions on players health, and although it doesnt explicitly mention mental wellness, providers say the document effectively gave coaches permission to defer.
The athletics culture in general tends to be hypermasculine, even in a female sport: Rub some dirt on it and go, Houle said. That mentality has evolved.
Eventually, as the days passed, Tebbe Priebe spoke informally with friends in the mental health field, her own attempt at airing thoughts, and tried to disengage from the news.
If there were quiet moments, she knew they were fleeting. Not just because her 7- and 5-year-old could burst in at any moment. If some of Iowas athletes truly were responding to being sent home with grief, shock and denial would eventually give way to depression and acceptance. She had been unnerved initially by the quiet of those first days, of how few people attended the online support groups, but she suspected a wave was coming.
While she waited, Tebbe Priebe tried to reintroduce structure to her household routine and declutter her thoughts. She wasnt alone. Bader, in Arkansas, told himself it was appropriate to admit he couldnt answer every question. Auerbach, in Arizona, tried to ease anxieties by issuing reminders that there was time.
We dont have to solve all this today, Auerbach found himself saying to athletes, and himself.
Were treading water because we cant stop thinking about it, and, just too many plans gets you anxious if you dont follow through, Tebbe Priebe said. I do expect to have to reach out to student-athletes.
She paused, thinking about the coming weeks.
I just dont know, she said. Its so hard to say, because the culture is so different with every day. Im expecting, though, that were all going to stay very busy.
Read more from the original source:
College athletes are far from their mental health resources when they need them most - Bend Bulletin
- How is mental health manifesting itself in the insurance world? - Insurance Business - June 22nd, 2020
- Native American groups address mental and behavioral health as COVID-19 wears on - Salt Lake Tribune - June 22nd, 2020
- Will digital mental health solutions thrive after Covid-19? - Medical Device Network - June 22nd, 2020
- ATAI dives into digital therapeutics to boost mental health care - FierceBiotech - June 22nd, 2020
- While Some Experts Brace For Tsunami Of Mental Health Issues, Others Predict Crisis Will Be Short-Lived - Kaiser Health News - June 22nd, 2020
- An inside look at Stanford's one-of-a-kind course on mental health innovation, where students mingle with industry experts and develop business plans... - June 22nd, 2020
- Defund police? Some cities have already started, investing in mental health instead - USA TODAY - June 22nd, 2020
- Discussion: You Don't Have To Go Far To Improve Mental Health - WCCO | CBS Minnesota - June 22nd, 2020
- Post-traumatic growth will happen in some after Covid-19 ends - STAT - STAT - June 22nd, 2020
- UPDATE: Police reopen east Bloomington area after addressing 'mental health crisis situation' - Bloomington Pantagraph - June 22nd, 2020
- Mental Health and Sleep Behaviors Are Affected by Diabetic Neuropathic Pain - Endocrinology Advisor - June 22nd, 2020
- 'You are not alone': The pandemic is causing increased anxiety. Here's how to get help - Desert Sun - June 22nd, 2020
- Usher's New Look and Cricket Wireless to Host Virtual Youth Mental Health Summit Addressing the Effects of COVID-19, Systemic Racism and Social... - June 22nd, 2020
- Mental Health Court receives funding for second year - The Owensboro Times - June 22nd, 2020
- Mental health conditions are not a normal part of aging: Dr. Brad Lucas - cleveland.com - June 22nd, 2020
- 'A culmination of crises': America is in turmoil, and a mental health crisis looms next - USA TODAY - June 22nd, 2020
- Covid-19 affects BAME youth mental health more than white peers study - The Guardian - June 22nd, 2020
- UW study looks at the long-term mental health toll of lockdowns - MyNorthwest.com - June 22nd, 2020
- The mental health victims of the pandemic the role of intervention - National Health Executive - June 22nd, 2020
- FCF|REACT Capacity Building on Adult and Child Mental Health - ReliefWeb - June 22nd, 2020
- Three Corners Health hopes to bridge the gap through online mental health forum - Williams Lake Tribune - June 22nd, 2020
- Larimer County, Fort Collins spar over location of behavioral health facility - Coloradoan - June 22nd, 2020
- Pandemic takes a toll on mental health of US residents, new national survey shows - News@Northeastern - June 22nd, 2020
- In the name of #MentalHealth - Mumbai Mirror - June 22nd, 2020
- Uthappa bares it all to raise awareness on mental health and suicide prevention - The New Indian Express - June 22nd, 2020
- Woman Behind Bars With Severe Mental Illness Gets Moved From County Jail - levittownnow.com - June 22nd, 2020
- As activists call to defund the police, mental-health advocates say the time is now to rethink public safety - MarketWatch - June 22nd, 2020
- WRITE TEAM: COVID-19 and mental health/addiction impact - MyWebTimes.com - May 26th, 2020
- Food Service Workers Are on the Brink of a Mental Health Crisis. These Efforts are Helping. - Civil Eats - May 26th, 2020
- 'We are all going through this:' Albany County mental health hotline helping hundreds - Albany Times Union - May 26th, 2020
- Here2Help Mental Health Coalition Library Forum: How to Recognize and Support People in Emotional Distress - TAPinto.net - May 26th, 2020
- VIDEO: YouTuber shows what it's like to have anxiety and panic attacks - Insider - INSIDER - May 26th, 2020
- Mental health and social isolation: how do have an active participation in self-care? - The European Sting - May 26th, 2020
- Cahill calls for mental health unit to be restored, expanded in Kingston - The Daily Freeman - May 26th, 2020
- Copper Ball virtual auction to benefit northern Arizona behavioral health - Arizona Daily Sun - May 26th, 2020
- Online therapy having its moment, bringing insights on how to expand mental health services going forward - The Conversation US - May 26th, 2020
- 'Like an earthquake with many aftershocks,' Coping with mental health and substance abuse issues during pandemic - Monadnock Ledger Transcript - May 26th, 2020
- Mental health apps draw wave of new users as experts call for more oversight - CNBC - May 26th, 2020
- Free Therapy and Mental Health Services You Can Access During the Coronavirus Outbreak - MSN Money - May 26th, 2020
- Mental health: How to care for yourself during the pandemic - CNN - May 26th, 2020
- Covid 19: This form of yoga can improve mental health, suggests study - The Indian Express - May 26th, 2020
- We Need to Take Action to Address the Mental Health Crisis in This Pandemic - TIME - May 26th, 2020
- Katie Lou Samuelson on mental health journey -- 'I realized I needed to ask for help' - ESPN - May 26th, 2020
- 3 signs that your coworker may be struggling with mental health issues - Fast Company - May 26th, 2020
- Singapore-based Intellect wants to lower barriers to mental health support in Asia - TechCrunch - May 16th, 2020
- Take care of your mind: mental health at JMU - The Breeze - May 16th, 2020
- The government will spend $48 million to safeguard mental health. Extending JobKeeper would safeguard it even more - The Conversation AU - May 16th, 2020
- Mental health expert panel discusses how to best deal with differing opinions on COVID-19 - WSAW - May 16th, 2020
- Greater Olean Area Mental Health Professionals Talk About How They Cope With the Pandemic - TAPinto.net - May 16th, 2020
- Letter to the Editor | Mental health requires more attention - Daily Illini - May 16th, 2020
- Mental health therapist concerned about telehealth reimbursements after emergency proclamation ends - KCRG - May 16th, 2020
- Coping Through COVID: The Importance of Mental Health - Patch.com - May 16th, 2020
- Suicide Prevention Aims To Get Ahead Of Pandemic's Added Pressures : Shots - Health News - NPR - May 16th, 2020
- Virtual mental health help for nurses at the front line of COVID-19 pandemic - Wink News - May 16th, 2020
- Experts worry about effects of coronavirus pandemic on those with mental health issues - CBS News - May 16th, 2020
- In China, covid-19 has focused attention on mental health - The Economist - May 16th, 2020
- Deaths and hunger strikes point to mental health crisis on stranded cruise ships - The Guardian - May 16th, 2020
- Im a survival psychologist, and this how weeks of social isolation is affecting your mental health - Well+Good - May 16th, 2020
- No Stigma Nevada: Its the worst time to skimp on mental-health resources - Elko Daily Free Press - May 12th, 2020
- Texas mental health counselors see influx of patients during coronavirus - The Texas Tribune - May 12th, 2020
- COVID-19 and your mental health | Health - Payson Roundup - May 12th, 2020
- Mental health in the workplace: The final frontier - Daily Herald - May 12th, 2020
- With a rapid shift to telehealth, Washburn Center is providing mental health services to children and families - MinnPost - May 12th, 2020
- 10 ways to boost mental health when working from home - World Economic Forum - May 12th, 2020
- As COVID-19 takes a toll on mental health, experts urge connection - Longview Daily News - May 12th, 2020
- Study Finds Pediatric ED Visits for Mental Health On the Rise - EMSWorld - May 12th, 2020
- Opinion: Mental health heroes are here to help during stressful times - Coloradoan - May 12th, 2020
- They just want someone to talk to: This mental health hotline is helping Texans navigate the pandemic - Gainesville Daily Register - May 12th, 2020
- Is It Time to Reevaluate Onstage Portrayals of Mental Illness? - Dance Magazine - May 12th, 2020
- Exclusive: Understanding the Impact of Climate Change on Mental Health - ICD10monitor - May 12th, 2020
- National Council for Behavioral Health Obtains 2.3 Million Face Masks for Mental Health and Addiction Providers at Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus -... - May 12th, 2020
- Local Counselor speaks: Mental Health and bouncing back from the Coronavirus - The Oxford Eagle - Oxford Eagle - May 12th, 2020
- Mike & Sherry Project Launches to Make Mental Health Support Accessible and Affordable for Restaurant and Bar Employees in Austin - Business Wire - May 12th, 2020
- COVID-19 having an impact on mental health | Coronavirus - East Oregonian - May 12th, 2020
- Northeast Business Group on Health and One Mind PsyberGuide Release Employer Guide to Mental Health Digital Tools and Solutions - GlobeNewswire - May 12th, 2020
- COVID-19 isolation threatening mental health of rural youth - National Observer - May 12th, 2020
- Peninsula Behavioral Health $2M grant to fund six positions - Peninsula Daily News - May 12th, 2020
- What COVID-19 Is Doing to Our Mental Health - Healthline - May 12th, 2020
- How Covid-19 is impacting the mental health of millennial moms - CNBC - May 12th, 2020
- Ashamed over my mental illness, I realized drawing might help me and others cope - The Wilton Bulletin - May 12th, 2020