YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — In light of three collegiate athletes who have committed suicide recently, Youngstown State University wants to make sure no student athlete feels alone.
“It’s been heart-wrenching to see the stories that have come out in the past month or so,” said Dean of Students Nicole Kent-Strollo.
Kent-Strollo said worrying about her students’ mental health — especially student athletes — are the kinds of issues that keep her up at night. In the past month, three NCAA athletes across the country have committed suicide following a struggle with mental health.
She said student athletes are put in a unique position where there’s a lot of pressure from family, friends and coaches to be perfect.
“They have to put up a really strong front so you know that I worry about them probably more than any other group…A lot of times it is their parents or whoever that other support person is to them — that they don’t want to let them down…Our student athletes, in particular, have lives outside athletics and so we really need to be able to help them through all these areas,” said Kent-Strollo.
This year, a psychology student is working with student athletes in groups on techniques to cope with stress and their team goals. They’re also working on bringing back student-led sessions on coping with injury.
“If they get hurt and they’re not able to perform in their sport anymore that can be beyond challenging,” said Kent-Strollo.
She said if someone is concerned for themselves or a teammate, there is an anonymous referral form on YSU’s website to get that person help. There is also an after-hours counseling services number for students to call if they feel like they need help. That number is 330-941-3737.
More than anything, Kent-Strollo doesn’t want students to be afraid to use these resources.
“Please, please, please reach out if you’re struggling,” she said.