This week was chock-full of interesting new research on stress, therapy, and happiness. Fox Sports also tracked the heightened risk of mental health issues in college athletes and the stigma that keeps them from getting help.
Even though the Chief Medical Officer for the NCAA declared mental health the No. 1 health and safety concern for their players, most student-athletes remain unaware of any NCAA mental health resources. Athletes also don’t seek help because of the large stigma around mental health in the athletic community – athletes don’t want to appear weak in front of their team or coach, and don’t know who to turn to for confidential support. Anorexia or bulimia is twice as rampant among athletes versus the general population of women, one cause being many female athletes face a struggle between looking feminine and delivering top performances.
Further, injuries, the immense pressure of competing, and balancing athletics with college classes can place a psychological strain on all college athletes. The University of Michigan’s athletic counselor talks more about what factors athletes face and how colleges are responding in this Q&A. There are many next steps that universities and the NCAA can take to stamp out the stigma of mental health and get these athletes the support they need, including spreading awareness of symptoms and resources. Fox Sports
Breast cancer patients see lasting mood boosts 15 years after therapy
The mental health community learned some great news this week about the lasting effects of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). A study tracked 240 breast cancer patients who practiced CBT stress-management techniques over 15 years. The findings were incredible: 15 years later, rates of depression and instances of poor emotional well-being still remain low. Since stress weakens the immune system and depression is related to greater inflammation, which furthers the disease, stress-management techniques are critical for breast cancer patients. These survivors go on to optimize their quality of life after beating breast cancer. Medical Daily
Pregnant women’s stress wires babies for anxiety
Stressed-out parents’ behaviors and interactions with their children can lead to kids’ impaired emotional development, depression, academic difficulties, high blood pressure, and obesity. But a new study finds that the stress of pregnant mothers can actually wire their babies for heightened levels of worry and anxiety compared to other children. “We don’t pay attention to women’s mental health during pregnancy the same way we do to other areas, such as their nutrition,” says the lead researcher. This study highlights the importance of stress-management during pregnancy for both the health of the mother and the baby. Newsweek
Attending college doesn’t make you happier
Lower socioeconomic status is strongly associated with mental illness, but researchers wanted to find out if higher education is linked with improved mental well-being. The study found odds of happiness are consistent across all levels of education. So, while attending college can still give you a leg up in terms of economics, it doesn’t necessarily improve your overall state of well-being. Time
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