Expanding the Reach for Mental Wellness for Better Performance in Sport & Life

COACHING VALUES

It’s much more than just the specific sport; it’s about reinforcing positive attitude and lessons for life.

When to Seek Help

Coaches are often one of the significant adults in youth’s lives to first recognize the youth has a problem with emotions or behaviour. This can be difficult time, and knowing the direction to take can be unclear. It can be confusing trying to tell the difference between symptoms of mental illness vs. normal problems that all kids experience from time to time.

The following are a few signs which may indicate that a child and adolescent psychiatric evaluation will be useful.

Younger Children

  • Marked fall in school performance.
  • Poor grades in school despite trying very hard.
  • Severe worry or anxiety, as shown by regular refusal to go to school, goes to sleep Or take part in activities that are normal for the child’s age.
  • Hyperactivity; fidgeting; constant movement beyond regular playing.
  • Persistent nightmares.
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression (longer than six months) and provocative opposition to authority figures.
  • Frequent, unexplainable temper tantrums.

Pre-Adolescents and Adolescents

  • Marked change in school performance.
  • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities.
  • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits.
  • Frequent physical complaints.
  • Sexual acting out.
  • Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, often accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death.
  • Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.
  • Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight, purging food or restricting eating.
  • Persistent nightmares.
  • Threats of self-harm or harm to others.
  • Self-injury or self destructive behavior.
  • Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression.
  • Threats to run away.
  • Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others; opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism.
  • Strange thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or unusual behaviors.

What Can Coaches Do?

Circle the behaviours from the list that concern you (especially those lasting a few weeks or more).

Speak to the youth regarding your main concerns, and listen to their response.

Let the youth know you will help them to work out the problem, or let them know where they can get the help they need.

Share your concerns with their parents.

If problems persist over an extended period of time and especially if others involved in the child’s life are concerned, consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other clinician specifically trained to work with children may be helpful.