The Spike in Mental Health Issues Among Young Athletes

Mental health left these five athletes without their lives in the past two years

Mental health left these five athletes without their lives in the past two years

The covid pandemic severely damaged mental health among the high school student population, and this was no exception for athletes putting pressure on themselves to make up for the lost time. Whether their mentality was the need to make-up for a canceled season, or the urgency to train after hours to make it up, they pressured themselves tremendously on and off the field.

Athletes’ mental health issues have been a problem for a long time. If we don’t succeed, there seems to be this suffocating pressure where if we don’t do well, or efficiently perform to others’ expectations of us, we feel like we have failed in life and in our sport. The pandemic altered schedules, whether it came to practices or games, which did not help.  Although the pandemic and expectations from others are a huge contribution to this issue, the causes of the spike in mental health doesn’t stop there. 

Speaking from experience, I recently went through a serious injury in December 2022 when I tore my ACL during a high school basketball game. I missed basketball and softball because of this injury and it was definitely a tough thing to come across. All the hard work on and off of the field, just for the possibility for it all to be gone in an instant. When battling an injury, athletes just want to be back on season no matter what it takes. This is another reason so many athletes have mental health problems. They are used to going to their sport of choice to relieve their stress and now they can’t. It makes it very difficult to overcome such a struggle.

According to, approximately 33% of college athletes suffer from mental health issues. Although this may not seem like a lot, many of these athletes don’t seek the help they need to succeed. There are so many young stars who could continue their talents in the future but don’t seek the help that they need.

“The problem is that we have people dying by suicide who may not even have warning signs because there may not even be mental illness prior to the suicide,” Dr. Megan Schabbing stated.

According to, about a year ago there was a high in suicide among college athletes as well. Five athletes suicides occurred between March 2022 and April 2022; Sarah Shulze, Kate Meyer, Jayden Hill, Robert Martin, and Lauren Bernett. All of these athletes were between the ages of 20-24 with a bright future ahead of them. Now they are no longer with this world. 

Athletes put an immense amount of pressure on themselves which leaves them with negative thoughts. The sooner we address these issues, the sooner we can get the help we deserve.