Jase Harrison and Richard Buscombe
University of East London, School of Health, Sport and Bioscience; Applied Sport Sciences Research Group, London, U.K
Harrison, J., Buscombe, R. (2023). Athlete experiences of mental health disclosure and help seeking behaviour in amateur and professional basketball. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 54(4), 305-318. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2023.54.305
This study addressed mental health disclosure and help seeking behavior from the perspective of athletes who have transitioned from amateur to professional basketball. Adopting a constructivist approach, six male professional basketball players (range 22-34 years) were interviewed utilizing a semi structured approach. Results showed that all of the athletes struggled with their mental health at different stages throughout their career. All athletes reported that stigma around mental health is still prevalent in sport. Barriers to seeking support emerged as a result of trust issues associated with a pernicious coach-athlete power differential, a lack of support during career transitions and a reluctance to confide in support staff from a different ethnicity. Implications are forwarded for coaches in the creation of psychologically safe environments and the way that individuals are supported throughout their athletic career.
Keywords: Mental Health, Stigma, Interpersonal Relationships