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Welcome, Student Athletes!

NOTE: This page is for UConn’s NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Mental Health Services. 

For Club Sport athletes and all other students please view our general Mental Health Services page. 

 


 

Mental Health is a vital component of athlete health. At Student Health and Wellness, we are guided by the understanding that mental health exists on a continuum, with resilience and thriving on one end of the spectrum and mental health disorders that disrupt a college athlete’s functioning and performance at the other.

SHaW offers students access to a personalized approach that promotes wellbeing and meets their mental health needs by offering rapid access to solution-focused, student centered treatment using interventions with proven outcomes to meet the diverse needs of our students throughout their college experience.

Student-athletes have the option to work with a clinical provider identified as a student-athlete specialist, a generalist provider on staff, or a local community provider. A broad array of mental healthcare services are offered by SHaW, in addition to clinical and supportive interventions specifically targeted for NCAA Varsity Athletes. Our primary goal is to maintain a culture for UConn student-athletes where care seeking for mental health is as normal as care seeking for a physical injury. We strive to empower all UConn Student-Athletes to achieve their highest potential.

The Athletics Mental Health team consists of licensed mental health providers who provide direct care to student athletes and are also visible and active in UConn athletic environments to support help-seeking and facilitate early identification through appropriate referral and care. We follow NCAA best practice guidance and are committed to providing diverse, equitable, and inclusive access to mental healthcare.

 

Services targeted for Student-Athletes

CBT for Athletes Group

  • CBT for Athletes is a group that uses knowledge and skills drawn from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to address symptoms of anxiety. The group consists of didactic teaching, group sharing, and home practice exercises. It aims to help group members lower anxiety by becoming aware of unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors, and replacing those with more helpful ones.

    Let’s Talk

    • Informal, confidential consultation with a counselor to listen to specific problems, help explore solutions and introduce you to what it's like to speak with a member of our team. Learn more here. 

      Psychotherapy

      • Licensed therapists identified as Student-Athlete Specialists are available to provide short term, solution focused sessions.

      Medication Services

      • Medication evaluation and medication management services are available to students who are concurrently working with a SHaW provider. Coordination of care with a team physician is also available. Some medications such as prescribed stimulants for ADHD contain NCAA banned substances, and student-athletes may need to use these medicines to support their academics and their general health. View the NCAA Banned Drugs and Medical Exceptions Policy.

      Psychological Testing

      • Referrals for psychological testing are provided and coordination with the SASP Learning Specialist and the Center for Students with Disabilities at UConn can be provided upon request and completion of a Release of Information form.

      Alcohol or other drug use Intervention and Safe Harbor

      • Confidential assessment of both substance use behavior and mental health symptoms are available. We will work with athletes to develop a treatment plan or provide referral for a higher level of care if needed. Ongoing group support through recovery is available.
      • UConn Athletics offers all student-athletes the option to self-refer for Safe Harbor and seek voluntary assistance for improper drug use or abuse. This is  an  individualized  process  designed  for  all  student  athletes,  without  fear  of  disciplinary  action,  to  initiate  the  contact  by  which  drug  issues  are  identified,  confronted  and  addressed  through voluntary participation in assessment, medical evaluation, counseling and education. View the Department of Athletics Drug Testing Policy.

      Case Management Services

      • SHaW designates a team of licensed mental health providers/case managers to specifically assist students when they are seeking off campus referrals or a higher level of care such as long-term weekly therapy, intensive outpatient care, hospitalization or other service not currently offered at SHaW.
      • When separation from UConn is anticipated, due to graduation, transfer, or other, we are able to offer assistance through our case management team to create a continuing care plan.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      How do I get started?

      What are examples of common mental health concerns for student-athletes?

      • Common examples include, but are not limited to: Mood changes such as depression or anxiety, Adjusting after injury or illness, Stress management, Family or relationship concerns, Difficulty with major life decisions, Emotional support pre and post surgery, managing set-backs, obstacles in rehab, and planning for return. Adjustment during transition specific to first year and final year students, adjusting to a change in athletic career path problem substance use.

        Is this confidential? 

        • Student-athletes over the age of 18 reserve the right to privacy from having their mental health information shared with the Athletics Department or any other stakeholder. Confidential information will only be shared if the student-athlete provides permission to do so. At times this can be helpful for advocacy and education purposes. If you will not be 18 years old at the time of your first appointment, we will offer specific guidance on this topic about your rights and responsibilities.

        My team doctor or athletic trainer referred me. Will you give them information about me?

        • With permission from the student-athlete, our providers are able to integrate mental healthcare and physical healthcare with a best-practice, interdisciplinary team approach. In partnership with the Department of Sports Medicine we aim to provide holistic, wrap-around support of the student-athlete. All personal health information shared between healthcare providers remains protected by State of Connecticut law on confidentiality.

        How is a Licensed Mental Health Provider different from a Sport Psychologist?

        • Only a licensed mental health provider can provide mental health treatment to student-athletes. Other professionals may provide sports performance consultation and sometimes, people refer to these individuals as “sports psychologists.” It is important to note that “sports psychologist” is simply a non-specific title that does not have a unique certification; some sports psychologists are performance coaches and others are licensed mental health providers.
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