Game On! Athletics, mental health and substance use.

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Student Athletes at Risk of Mental Health and Substance-Use Disorders

Guest Blog Post by Grace McLaughlin, Recovery Brands.

While most students enjoyed a three-month break over the summer, a select group was busy preparing for what might be the most important time in their life. A group whose need to do well in school isn’t just a benefit, but a necessity. A group that is seen as “too tough” for mental health to be an issue. This group is our student athletes.

These students spent their summers participating in two-a-day practices, running countless miles and dreaming of becoming an honorary MVP of their team. They have dreams of graduating high school with a full ride scholarship to college with the chance at the big leagues. However, many people forget these aspirations come with an immense amount of pressure and stress. On top of teaching them to be physically strong and focus on their sport, we should be educating them on the signs and symptoms of mental illness.

Although we have made great strides to break down the stigma associated with mental health, it’s still largely prevalent in 2016. Society has created a certain stereotype associated with student athletes, and it is one where mental illness isn’t allowed. Between the need to excel in school and athletics, it is no surprise that this group of young adults run the risk of developing depression, anxiety, eating disorders and even substance abuse. Student athletes have to show up to practice, no matter what is going on in their personal lives. If their grades are down, they risk being kicked off the team, or worse, losing their scholarship. On top of all this, they only get one day off a week to catch up with friends and be a “normal kid”. When it comes down to it, student athletes never truly get a break.

One group trying to tackle this issue is the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). They conducted a study in 2014 that found “…about 30 percent of the 195,000 respondents to a recent American College Health Association (ACHA) survey reported having felt depressed in the last 12 months, and 50 percent reported having felt overwhelming anxiety during the same period.“ To combat this, the NCAA has created guides to help coaches and their athletes manage mental health issues. These guides highlight the fact that, although student athletes main focus is physical health, mental health is just as important. In order to be at your peak physical state, your mind must be healthy as well.

These guides also shed light on the potential for substance abuse among student athletes. Many people turn to substances as an escape from reality. With all this added pressure to young adults, it is no surprise that student athletes may be looking for a way to cope.

There are many steps that people can take to ensure mental health is a priority. Student athletes have an immense amount of added pressure on them, but they also have their coaches and teammates looking out for their best interests. As a coach, it’s imperative to have open communication with athletes and set the precedent that they should never be ashamed to reach out for help. When it comes down to it, seeking help and addressing mental health as a priority reveals an incredible sense of strength and bravery.

The first step to breaking down the stigma and getting people the help they need is by reaching out and discussing it.

About Grace McLaughlin

grace-mclaughlin Grace is a social media specialist at Recovery Brands. Through a portfolio of authoritative web properties such as Rehabs.com and Recovery.org, Recovery Brands helps connect individuals in need of addiction treatment with facilities that can provide care. The company’s sites equip consumers with valuable resources to make informed treatment decisions, and also allow treatment providers to connect with individuals seeking care by showcasing key facility offerings through robust profile listings. Complete with comprehensive online directories, facility ratings and reviews, forums and professional communities, site visitors can more efficiently compare and select the treatment options that best meet their recovery needs. For more information, visit RecoveryBrands.com or follow @RecoveryBrands.

Guest blog posts are welcome additions to the content on this website. Guest blog posts represent the views, opinions and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent Our Young Addicts. Together, we provide parents and professionals with a variety of perspectives and information.

 ©2016 Our Young Addicts   All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Building Community in Recovery

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In a local coffee shop, I took a few minutes to check the OYA twitter feed and noticed an interesting chat taking place – #CADAChat. That was a couple of years ago and whenever I have a some free time on Thursday afternoons, I gladly join the tweet chat making amazing connections with others who share a similar commitment to the recovery community. Today’s guest blogger is the #CADAChat creator, Mary Mangione. Learn more about the community she is building! Without a doubt, Mary is one of the most welcoming voices for the recovery community; I am grateful to know her! MWM

As a social media specialist at Recovery Brands, my primary job is to interact with people in the recovery space to build a sense of community around our brand. Prior to being hired, I had my own perception of addiction, a perception that was based upon friends, family, the media, and, unfortunately, the stigma that is so often associated with chemical dependency.

In hopes of changing my perception, I spent hours reading articles about addiction — substances, signs and symptoms, underlying issues, and treatment models. While many differed in their specifics, they all stemmed from a theme of stigma and lack of support. And in that moment, it finally hit me: as a society, we have the power to bring an end to the shame and disgrace of addiction by sharing our stories with others.

As I continued to hone my social media skills and knowledge of addiction, I developed a sense of purpose in this space. Not only was my job to share our various informational resources, but I also had a duty to bring people together – to collectively build a community of hope.

In February of 2014, I launched a weekly Twitter chat series, #CADAChat, via our account @DrugAbuse. I remember being incredibly nervous because I had never hosted a chat and had no idea if anyone would even show up! The topic was “The Dangers of Meth” and, to my surprise, not only did people show up, they actively participated.

Fast forward two years, and I’ve hosted over 65 editions of #CADAChat. It’s been one of my greatest tools of growth in the digital space and has allowed me to make meaningful connections with so many amazing people — including MWM. Each week, we delve into the many facets of addiction and share life-saving recovery tips with one another. I find it to be a great source of information and hope, in an often hopeless space.

Through these chats, we’ve created an ongoing discussion on the ways we can combat stigma and encourage people to actively choose recovery. I’ve found that the more people come together, the stronger and louder our conversation becomes. The #CADAChat community is built on the idea that, when we share our stories, we truly give recovery a voice.

As members of a community, we’re less likely to feel alone because we’re included in and supported by a group of like-minded people. The concept of inclusion is huge in staying accountable, feeling worthy, and promoting an overall sense of happiness in recovery.

About Mary Mangione:

Mary is a social media specialist at Recovery Brands. Through a portfolio of authoritative web properties such as Rehabs.com and Recovery.org, Recovery Brands helps connect individuals in need of addiction treatment with facilities that can provide care. The company’s sites equip consumers with valuable resources to make informed treatment decisions, and also allow treatment providers to connect with individuals seeking care by showcasing key facility offerings through robust profile listings. Complete with comprehensive online directories, facility ratings and reviews, forums and professional communities, site visitors can more efficiently compare and select the treatment options that best meet their recovery needs. For more information, visit RecoveryBrands.com or follow @RecoveryBrands.

Guest blog posts are welcome additions to the content on this website. Guest blog posts represent the views, opinions and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent Our Young Addicts. Together, we provide parents and professionals with a variety of perspectives and information.

©2016 Our Young Addicts   All Rights Reserved.