NASW Illinois Statewide Conference
October 29, 2013
Natalie Graves, AM, LCSW



To highlight mental health problems athletes can
face.
Participants will learn how athletes can be a
vulnerable population.
Participants will learn how social workers are well
equipped to work with this specialized population
through assessment, consultation, outreach and
direct practice.
Athletes
Families
Coaches/Sport
Mental Health
Professionals
Society


Student-athletes have unique pressures and
stresses placed upon them by their parents,
coaches, teammates, fans as well as themselves
(Noreen, 2008).
Student-athletes have a greater risk of mental
health problems than their non-athlete
counterparts yet are less likely to take advantage of
mental health service (Gulliver, Griffiths, &
Christenses, 2012).
 The
psychological state of
someone who is functioning
at a satisfactory level of
emotional and behavioral
adjustment.

A mental illness is a medical condition that
disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood,
ability to relate to others and daily
functioning…mental illnesses are medical
conditions that often result in a diminished
capacity for coping with the ordinary
demands of life.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
NAMI

Substance Abuse

Depression/Anxiety

PTSD

Body Disorders*
 Alcohol
 Illicit
Drugs (i.e. marijuana,
ecstasy)
 Prescribed Medications (i.e.
pain relievers)
 Steroids, Performing
Enhancing Drugs (PED)
 Major
 May
Depressive Disorder
begin at any age
 Average
age at onset in the mid-
20’s (College Age)
 Situational Depression
position on team, stress)
(injury, lost

Athletes are experiencing post traumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) after traumatic brain
injuries.
 Eating
Disorders (anorexia)
◦ Female athletes
 Overtraining
Syndrome
◦ Body Builders
 Body
Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)
BDD is characterized by complaints about medical or physical
conditions that have no ascertainable physical or psychological
cause. DSM-5 (2013)

High school students have to deal with many
stressful factors from class work to popularity
contests…recent findings have indicated that
high school male and female athletes do not
have at their disposal the same mental illness
treatment options available to college
athletes (Keilman, 2012).

High school is a turbulent time for adolescent
development. The physical and mental
changes brought on during puberty
cause…fear in young men and women.
Athletes have an added stressor in that they
must perform at a high rate, in stressful
environment under the watchful eyes of
coaches, parents, and classmates (Keilman
2013).
 Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorders (ADHD)
◦ Lack of focus, over excited
 Separation
Anxiety Disorders
◦ Family, Coaches


Qualitative
Semi-formal interviews
◦
◦
◦
◦


High school players and coaches
College coaches and players
Mental Health Professionals
Big Ten Athletic Director
Semi-formal focus groups
Literary Review


Email - [email protected]
Facebook Page – Social Work & Sports -Natalie
Graves, AM, LCSW
www.facebook/Nataliethesocialworker

Blog – Sports, Athletes, and the Social Worker
[email protected]

Twitter - @natgra and #NASWIL

Website – Coming Soon!!!!
Download

Social Workers` Role with Athletes (1PowerPoint)