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12 Tips for Talking to Your Teen Athlete About Their Mental Health

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This resource by Katie Hurley, DSW, LCSW, Senior Clinical Advisor of External Affairs for The Jed Foundation (with input from Positive Coaching Alliance) provides parents and caregivers 12 tips for talking to their teen athletes about their mental health.

Sports, especially at a competitive level, can add another layer of stress to the lives of teens. There’s balancing the time commitment between school and sports, as well as the pressure, disappointment, and social scrutiny that can come with competition: losing, not making a team, having your plays shared and sometimes criticized on social media, trying to earn scholarships, and more.

As the caregiver of a teen athlete, your support can help them understand their feelings and feel valued and cared for. You can provide a safe space to work through all the inevitable emotions of life and competition. Of course, they may not immediately take advantage of it. Any parent of a teen knows that, “fine” is often the go-to answer when we ask how practice went or how they are feeling. That may leave you feeling frustrated and confused. How can you help your teen athlete if they won’t talk?

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