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Common Mental Health Concerns in Athletes

presented by Stephen Graef

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 1 in 5 individuals will experience a mental health condition this year, and 1 in 20 live daily with a serious mental health illness. Although individuals may display the symptoms of mental illness in slightly different ways, it is necessary for healthcare providers to be knowledgeable about several common signs and symptoms. This is certainly the case for physical therapists, coaches, and athletic trainers who may be on the front lines of their athletes’ physical and mental wellbeing. As such, being aware of, recognizing, and knowing when to refer for psychological concerns is paramount in the job of such professionals. The purpose of today’s session is to arm you, the physical health care professional, with the knowledge and tools necessary to recognize when someone might be experiencing a mental health condition and provide them with the proper support. This course will empower you to recognize, mediate, and refer individuals for psychological concerns.

Meet Your Instructor

Stephen Graef, PhD

Steve Graef, PhD is a licensed counseling psychologist in Ohio specializing in sport and performance, as well as common psychological illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and adjustment. He received his Bachelors in Psychology at The Ohio State University and completed both his masters and doctoral degrees in Counseling Psychology at the University of Akron. A…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Mental Health and Mood Disorders

In this chapter, Dr. Graef addresses the common mental health and mood disorders that affect our society today. Participants will learn how to recognize and treat these psychological illnesses, discuss strategies to help patients deal with these concerns, and gain knowledge on how to appropriately refer someone for counseling.

2. Suicide

Suicide and suicidal thoughts are a serious symptom of mental illness that many struggle to confront and openly discuss. Join Dr. Graef as he educates participants on the tactics and interventions to utilize when someone expresses an intention of self-harm.

3. Anxiety

Join Dr. Graef as he provides insight into anxiety, one of the more common psychological concerns that we may encounter in our daily lives. Topics to be covered include recognizing the signs and symptoms of the five definitive types of anxiety, gaining perspective on why anxiety may pose problems for certain individuals, and learning effective mediation and intervention strategies to help individuals with these concerns.

4. Adjustment and Eating Disorders

How can new situations affect our emotional and behavioral wellbeing? Dr. Graef educates participants on the basis of adjustment disorders, conditions that stem in response to perceived high stress situations. Participants will garner the knowledge to recognize these concerns and will come to understand the correlation of adjustment with depressive and anxiety symptoms.

5. Substance Abuse

The use and abuse of substances poses a major threat to our health and is a frequent topic of concern. Yet how can a sports practitioner address this abuse? In this chapter, Dr. Graef will provide participants with a baseline to identify the substances that are most frequently abused, as well as tips on how to effectively evaluate patients and make appropriate referrals for treatment.

6. Sleep Issues

In this chapter, Dr. Graef addresses how sleep concerns correlate with mental illness and physical instability. Emphasis is placed on the fundamentals behind common sleep disorders such as insomnia, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy, as well as on the impact that sleep can have on the body.

7. Psychosomatic Issues

This chapter on psychosomatic concerns discusses the impact that the psychological state of mind has on physical wellbeing. Dr. Graef teaches participants about common psychosomatic injuries that may be present within a population, and poses solutions for effective intervention and evaluation.

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