This project was created to help promote mental health in collegiate student-athletes and help them increase their mental wellness skills. Funded by the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant, this project looks to improve the overall well-being of the student-athletes. Using cognitive and dialectical behavior therapies (CBT/DBT) forms of psychotherapy that treat problems and boost happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts. This project aims to help teach student-athletes how to cope and get through an array of issues involving; problem-solving, mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and self-empowerment.
This project was conducted with the support of the NCAA. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
The idea for this project came from one of our co-creators Ms. Coffey, who was a former collegiate athlete herself at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. During her time as a collegiate student-athlete, Ms. Coffey suffered through mental health challenges just like many others. With the help and experience of Dr. Alicia Dahl from the University's Department of Public Health Sciences, Abby pitched an idea to help other students cope with similar challenges. After several iterations, the concept came to fruition by using podcasting approaches for health promotion, a trendy but accessible way to learn new information. The opportunity to promote positive mental health and coping strategies that are evidence-based was important to the research team. To make these concepts salient for the listeners, we felt it was important to tailor the content to the experience of collegiate athletes. We conducted several focus groups in 2020 to inform the story lines around common experiences student-athletes face.
“With the athlete status comes an entire identity to uphold, and that pressure can be overwhelming...We are the brand. Everywhere we go, there is an image to uphold. In addition to this, athletics is so much more than physical participation. It is a full-time job that comes with a lot of baggage.”-Ms. Coffey.
Alicia A. Dahl, Ph.D., M.S.
Department of Public Health Sciences
College of Health and Human Services
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Graduate Research Assistant
Abigail Coffey, CHES
UNC-Charlotte MPH Student
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