Mental Health in the Young Athlete

Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2020 Sep 21;22(11):63. doi: 10.1007/s11920-020-01185-w.


Purpose of review: The goal of the present paper is to provide a comprehensive overview of mental health concerns in young athletes, with a focus on common disorders, as well as population-specific risk factors.

Recent findings: Athletes experience similar mental health concerns as non-athlete peers, such as anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, ADHD, eating disorders, and substance abuse. However, they also experience unique stressors that put them at risk for the development or exacerbation of mental health disorders. Student athletes have to balance academics with rigorous training regimens while focusing on optimal performance and managing high expectations. Physical injuries, overtraining, concussion, sleep disorders, and social identity are some of the factors that also impact the mental health of student athletes. Existing literature highlights the need to develop proactive mental health and wellness education for young athletes, and to develop services that recognize the unique needs of this population.

Keywords: Athletes; Injury; Mental health; Risk factors; Sport.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Athletes
  • Brain Concussion*
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*