Understanding Mental Health and Wellbeing in Sport

Heaney, Caroline (2022). Understanding Mental Health and Wellbeing in Sport. In: Heaney, Caroline; Kentzer, Nichola and Oakley, Ben eds. Athletic Development: A Psychological Perspective. London: Routledge, pp. 183–200.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003153450-15


This chapter explores the importance of mental health and wellbeing in sport and the need to understand the uniqueness of the sporting environment and its potential impact on mental health. It examines the prevalence of mental health difficulties in athletes, the mental health difficulties that can affect athletes, why athletes might be vulnerable to these, how they can be prevented or treated, and how positive mental health and wellbeing can be promoted in sporting environments. Mental health is a complex area and those involved in sport (e.g., coaches and support staff) are not expected to have a detailed understanding of the area that extends beyond their professional boundaries, but should have a basic understanding that includes awareness of warning signs, sources of support, referral networks, and mental health emergency plans.

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