After confusion arose in the past year regarding protocol for referring student athletes in situations involving mental health, suicide or self-harm, Ohio University has created a position for a psychologist within its athletics department.

The new hire, Michelle Pride, specializes in athletics and works at the OU Convocation Center two days out of the week, according to The Post, based in Athens, Ohio. Pride provides counseling for student-athletes as well as consultations with coaches and trainers.

Pride told The Post in an email that working with athletes is similar to working with other students — she is most commonly consulted on issues of anxiety, depression, and concerns about relationships, eating, graduation, academics, career, identity and performance.

From ABFocusing on Student-Athletes' Mental Health

However, there are additional obstacles to work through, such as scheduling and time commitments, relationships with coaches and teammates, and assuming a role within a team setting. “The embedded position has made it easier for many students to access services,” said Pride.

Senior member of the women’s track and field team and president of the student-athlete advisory committee Emily Deering told The Post, “At our last senior staff meeting I passed out some testimonies from student athletes who have used her services and I think first and foremost the athletic department’s ability to take student athlete feedback and put it into a full-blown position, that has shown tremendous success.”

Pride’s time in the athletics department is funded through the department’s budget. She spends the remaining three days each week working out of the Center for Psychological Services at Hudson Health.

Courtney Cameron is Editorial Assistant of Athletic Business.