Mental health advocacy has made incredible strides in recent years. We see massive annual campaigns encouraging us to normalize and de-stigmatize the issue. High profile athletes have stepped forward to share their experiences. The topic has received its due attention and conversation.
DID YOU KNOW…
63% of student athletes report a mental health concern that impacts their ability to perform? Only 10% get help.*
Despite all the talk and media coverage, these statistics have not improved. In fact, with the added complexities of the pandemic, the situation has worsened.
Therefore, this is the moment where talk must give way to action...
HONE Athletics is committed to taking real steps to improving sport culture and, therefore, the mental well-being of athletes. We call this the “Culture First” approach.
WHY A “CULTURE FIRST” APPROACH?
Because environment matters. People naturally thrive or bounce back faster when they feel supported and safe. You cannot develop healthy individuals in unhealthy environments.
Additionally, by helping leaders put a focus on culture, they better connect with their athletes and detect difficulties among their players earlier.
Up until now we have relied exclusively on reactive support for individuals, often only after a problem has taken root enough that it can no longer be ignored. Our “culture first” approach finally allows leaders a proactive way to promote mental well-being.
HOW DOES HONE ATHLETICS HELP?
We empower coaches to confidently create the kind of team culture that drives performance AND well-being. To achieve this mission, HONE has developed a sport-specific digital platform that is backed with mental health expertise.
What does that mean in plain language? We have harnessed technology to address team well-being.
Coaches can now check in with their athletes weekly via a mobile app. The athletes are able to share how they are coping against six common stressors and submit their responses anonymously. The anonymity helps ensure the players feel comfortable to be completely honest in their feedback.
Each week, the coaches then review the results of the survey in their web-based dashboard. The dashboard is programmed to provide suggestions for how to address the results.
The results of our approach are:
- Better open communication within the team and organization.
- No hidden stressors disrupting athletes’ focus and performance.
- Early detection of players that could benefit from individual support.
- An intentional, supportive team culture where players will naturally thrive.
HOW CAN YOU BE PART OF THE MOVEMENT?
We invite all forward-thinking coaches and sport leaders to join the movement to change sport culture for the better. Talking about mental health will remain important, but our movement is action-oriented.
Consider how you can address these three elements for your own organization / team:
- “The topic of mental well-being is open for discussion here.”
Help your sport community understand that mental health fluctuates the way physical health does. Sometimes everything is functioning great. Sometimes you need some focused attention on an issue. When someone tells you they are struggling with their mental health, it is on par with them telling you that they have a knee injury. We want our athletes to feel as confident to share their mental well-being concerns the same way they’d discuss their knee. Once the shame is taken out of the struggle, open conversation can begin to flow.
- Prepare Your Leaders.
Athletes should feel safe to come forward to their coaches and leaders. No one expects coaches to solve the actual problem, but we need them to feel equipped to receive these conversations. Do your coaches feel ready to address what may come up?
- Demonstrate Your Commitment.
In order for well-being to be advanced in a meaningful way, it needs to be made a priority and communicated to the team as such. What are you doing in an ongoing way to support them? How will they know that their mental well-being is foundational to your team?
At HONE Athletics, we are proud to be at the leading edge of this new frontier for sport culture. When the whole athlete is developed, both body and mind, we lift obstacles to new peaks of performance and enhance the quality of their experience.
Ready to join the movement to #PutMentalHealthInTheGame?
For any questions you may have about HONE Athletics, our mission or our platform, please reach out to us. We would love to hear from you.
Mental Health Statistics: *Kern et al., 2017