Black Football Student-Athletes’ Perceived Barriers to Seeking Mental Health Services


Todd A. Wilkerson – University of Arkansas
Sarah Stokowski – University of Arkansas
Alison Fridley – University of Arkansas
Stephen W. Dittmore – University of Arkansas
Charles A. Bell – University of Arkansas

As the field of Sport Psychology (SP) continues to expand and become more embedded within college athletic programs, it is necessary to assess practices by which sport psychology providers can be effective in delivering services and accessing populations. Football represents a particular athletic subculture that paradoxically needs services but can be difficult to access. This current study examined perspectives of college football coaches in order to further expand the understanding of college football coaches’ knowledge about sport psychology by assessing coaches’ abilities to identify mental health concerns and their willingness to refer student-athletes to mental health services. Coaches revealed their beliefs about mental health concerns, barriers to accessing mental health services, as well as their perspective of the ideal characteristics of Sport Psychology Consultants (SPC), as it relates to the specific needs of college football players. Results can be used to inform best practices and provide practical implications for improving mental health and overall well-being among college student-athletes.