NCAA Student-Athletes Pen Open Letter on Mental Health Crisis

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NCAA Student-Athletes on Wednesday published an open letter on the mental health crisis and what the association is doing to help. The full letter can be viewed below: 

The state of urgency surrounding mental health concerns for student-athletes is palpable on campuses across the country and backed by association-wide data: The NCAA Student-Athlete Well-Being Survey showed rates of mental exhaustion, anxiety and feeling depressed were comparable in fall 2021 to the beginning of the pandemic. Mental health struggles can occur with a wide range of severity, depending on the impacted individual. While an individual's mental health status is personal, treatment and support are a community effort. As such, it's encouraging that there has been an increase in support from student-athletes, administrators and athletics staff in breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and dedicating effort to improve support systems.

For the first time in NCAA history, the term "mental health" is included in the NCAA constitution, which all member schools, conferences and divisions have agreed to uphold. This historic inclusion — initiated by SAAC members from each division — displays a strong commitment by the NCAA to its student-athletes' health, safety and well-being. Institutions are now required to "facilitate an environment that reinforces physical and mental health within athletics by ensuring access to appropriate resources and open engagement with respect to physical and mental health" (NCAA Constitution, Article 1-D). Members of the governance structure are also actively reviewing policies and procedures with an enhanced focus on mental health. 

As part of its continued work to provide recommendations for supporting and promoting student-athlete mental health, the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports commissioned a Mental Health Advisory Group and charged it with reviewing and updating the existing Mental Health Best Practices. Moving forward, the Association is committed to creating well-informed recommendations and education efforts to support student-athletes on every campus. We want to challenge campuses around the country to take action and be proactive in implementing the forthcoming recommendations. As change begins to take place, the student-athlete voice should remain involved in all conversations. 


NCAA Division I, II and III Student-Athlete Advisory Committees

NCAA Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee

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