NJSIAA advocating mental health awareness for student athletes

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Urban News Staff Reports

Responding to evidence from a recent National Athletic Trainers’ Association study that scholastic athletes experience more frequent mental health challenges than their non-athlete peers,  the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) is providing easily accessible, online support.

A dedicated page on the NJSIAA website includes a variety of key background information, articles focused on mental health, inspiration stories, and direct access to support hotlines and textlines. These latter – directly accessible via links – are 2nd Floor Mental Health Hotline (888-222-2228), NJ Hopeline (855-654-6734) and The Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741). All lines offer the option of remaining anonymous, along with providing confidential, 24/7 telephone counseling from specialists who are also able to make referrals to local resources.

“No one should struggle alone with mental illness,” said NJSIAA Executive Director Larry White. “While our focus is student-athletes, we want to support all of NJ’s youth whether they play sports or not. Our mission is to help them stay safe and healthy, on and off the field, and that’s what our mental health site is all about.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death among ages 10–24 in the United States and accounted for 5,178 deaths in this age group in 2012. Specifically in New Jersey, from 2013-2015, there were 84 suicides in children ages 10-18, while suicide rates declined for older youth (ages 19-24), and increased for younger youth (ages 10-18), according to the 2017 New Jersey Youth Suicide Report.

NJSIAA mental health resources – hotline access, educational articles and athlete stories – are at www.njsiaa.org/mental-health.

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