Behavioral Care: An International Approach to Student-Athlete Mental Health


  • Ronnie Watson School of Kinesiology, Ball State University
  • Khirey Walker School of Communication, Elon University



mental health programming, help-seeking behavior, psychological services, intercollegiate student-athletes


Worldwide, mental illness affects a variety of student-athletes. 41% of student-athletes were frequently overwhelmed. Nearly a quarter of student-athletes reported exhaustion from the mental demands of their sport. 10-21% of student-athletes reported depressive symptoms but did not know how to handle them. With mental illness affecting many student-athletes, the purpose of this study was to analyze a student-athlete’s access to both psychological services and resources between the United States Ivy League Conference and Japan’s Kansai Big Six League. Results confirmed that the United States focused on performance; whereas, Japan focused on holistic health. Furthermore, young adulthood is a period of heightened susceptibility for mental health disorders, making college an important setting for a student-athlete’s early identification and management. Early identification is critical, yet diagnosed student-athletes rarely seek help as 19.4% of student athletes experience some form of mental health disorder, 360,000 student-athletes struggle with depression, and only 18% of student-athletes seek treatment when struggling with poor mental health. 


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