Examining the Likelihood of Employing Mental Health, Mental Performance, and Ministry Professionals in Intercollegiate Athletic Department Staffs

Brian E. Menaker – Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Emily H. North – Texas A&M University – Kingsville
Amanda K. Curtis – Lake Erie College

Intercollegiate student-athlete mental health continues to be a concern as this population experiences higher levels of psychosocial risks in comparison to the non-athletic student body. While some athletic departments employ professionals to treat the risks that student-athletes experience, there continues to be inconsistencies in the types of individuals who are staffed to treat mental health or provide counseling to athletes. Athletic departments who do include mental health practitioners (MHP) tend to staff a wide variety of professionals to work with their athletes ranging from psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and licensed mental health counselors for mental health needs, mental performance consultants for applied sport and performance psychology needs, and chaplains for counseling and spiritual needs. The purpose of this study was to identify the mental health and performance staffing resources available in NCAA programs while predicting the institutional factors such as Division membership, status as public or private, and status as a historically black college and university. Division membership was the primary predictor of employing MHPs on staff. Difference between staffing MHPs was non-significant between public and private institutions while private schools were more likely to staff chaplains. This study shows the gaps in employing MHP between NCAA divisions and in non-mental health counseling positions.