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In the mood for change: shifting the paradigm of mental health care in athletes—an AMSSM thematic issue
  1. Ashwin L Rao1,
  2. Eugene S Hong2
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA
  2. 2Department of Family, Community and Preventive Medicine, University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ashwin L Rao, Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, UW Husky Stadium Sports Medicine Center 3800 Montlake Blvd NE Box 354060, Seattle, WA 98195,USA; ashwin{at}

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Mental health is an increasingly recognised and discussed topic in the sports community. To compete successfully is a challenge as athletes must prevent and manage injuries, perform academically and contend with both internal and external emotional pressures.1 ,2 These stressors can lead to disruptive thoughts and maladaptive behaviour patterns.3–6 There are an increasing proportion of young people facing mental illness.7 ,8

Media reports of tragic deaths involving athletes, who are perceived to be among the healthiest members of their community, highlight the struggles that athletes face in the shadows of perceived emotional and physical strength. There is an increasing recognition of depression and suicide, disordered eating, substance abuse, hazing and bullying, the psychological consequences of injury as real concerns in the athletic community. Yet, most providers lack of familiarity with these topics and may not be comfortable in managing the athlete expressing these concerns.9

Expert opinion and future directions

This AMSSM theme issue assembles a group of experts in the field of sports mental health to identify current challenges, barriers, and …

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