Mental Health Challenges Among College Athletes

It is commonly known that physical activity can trigger the release of endorphins, the hormones that make us feel happy and well. However, athletic involvement does not make one impervious to mental health issues.

Athletes face enormous pressure to perform well in games, meet academic demands, maintain stamina throughout long playing seasons, avoid injuries, and adhere to practice schedules.

Shockingly, only 10% of college athletes experiencing mental health conditions seek help, resulting in 35% of elite athletes suffering from mental health issues.

Hope is a valuable strategy

Hope can help athletes cope with mental health challenges while simultaneously enhancing their performance.

Hopeful athletes have agency, or the motivation to pursue goals, and the ability to map pathways toward reaching those goals.

When athletes activate Hope, they can experience numerous positive benefits such as:

  • Increased athletic performance, and athletic performance was not predicted by self-esteem, sport confidence, and mood.
  • Decreased recovery time after injuries.
  • Lower negative emotions and anxiety intensity
  • Reduced self-handicapping, or purposeful mistakes to protect the individual against the threat of poor performance.
  • Increase soccer-related reaction time (i.e., 420.70 mS for the Hope condition vs 448.91 mS for the emotion-neutral condition).
  • Increased effort towards the sport
Healing Hope

Additionally, research has shown that athletes who have higher levels of Hope are less susceptible to sports-related injuries.

Researchers have found persistent stress increases the risk of athletic injuries, but increasing one’s Hope skills can reduce stress and provide protection against other negative emotions and self-criticism, thereby mitigating the risk of future injuries.

Reach Out

We activate sports teams on hope by measuring their hope, consulting on how to improve hope, licensing a 10-week evidence-based Hopeful Mindsets on the College Campus course for campus athletes, creating full-scale marketing campaigns, teaching coaches hope science, offering Hopeful Mindsets Overview to athletes, speaking at events, and engaging your teams with teaching your community and youth ‘how’ to hope. Want to activate your team in one, several, or all of those ways? Get in touch at

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