Pennsylvania Lawmakers Mull Bill Requiring Coaches to Take Mental Health Training

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A bill before the Pennsylvania Legislature would require school coaches to take a mental health policy class and call on the Department of Education and Health to provide schools with information and resources to pass on to all students and staff. 

According to WGAL, House Bill 1367 was the brainchild of former Hempfield High School student-athlete Mekkai Williams, who came up with the idea when he was working as an intern for Rep. Mary Jo Daley. Williams is now a student at Temple. He suffered a career-ending knee injury playing football at Hempfield. He said the "physical pain was immense, but the mental anguish was worse."

" Nearly half of America’s youth struggle with mental health before turning 18," a memo on the bill states. "Unfortunately, teenage athletes may not come forward and may be fearful of seeking help because they don’t think it would be 'mentally tough.'"

The bill asserts that coaches aren’t trained for mental health situations and may not be equipped to take on mental health struggles.

A recent study surveying more than 10,000 coaches found only 18 percent of youth coaches feel highly confident in their ability to link athletes to mental health resources and 67 percent want more training and information on the subject.

"My bill creates a 'game plan,'" Daley said. "It adds a section to the PIAA CIPPE form about understanding mental health and resources available to the student athlete and requires coaches to take a mental health training course that must be approved by the Department of Health.Please join me in breaking the stigma and supporting all student-athletes across the commonwealth by co-sponsoring this bill."


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