Athletes for Hope | Athlete Mental Health Alliance

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Athlete Mental Health Alliance

About the Athlete Mental Health Alliance

The Athlete Mental Health Alliance (AMHA) aims to leverage the lived experiences and amplify the voices of athletes demanding a change in the sport system, as it pertains to their mental health. Through research, advocacy, and partnership we aim to facilitate a national plan supporting athlete mental health, developed with athletes, for athletes.

Our vision is to lift the ‘athlete voice’ as it leads the way in mental health solutions for elite athletes. Each of these voices combined will lead the charge in working with lawmakers to establish universal legislation that would create mental health rights for all athletes.

To become a member of AHMA, please use the signup form here.

Alliance Committee Chairs

Dr. Robert Elsner

Research Committee Chair

Robert J.F. Elsner, PhD, DMin, is Professor and Chair of Psychology at Samford University. Having led research projects and programs in several countries, Rob is on numerous Editorial Boards and was Editor-In-Chief of Current Research in Psychology for five years. As a lacrosse player in college, as well as a former professor of Family and Community Medicine, Rob has deep personal experiences with athletes and mental health from a variety of perspectives. He has taught Sport Psychology for 20 years.

Lisa Devine

Legislative Committee Chair

Lisa currently serves as the Policy & Advocacy Coordinator for Alston for Athletes, where she manages advocacy initiatives geared towards increasing mental health awareness in the athletic community. Her unwavering commitment revolves around advancing mental health and wellness, fostering awareness of behavioral and mental distress, and increasing access to mental health services.

Lisa is determined to normalize mental health by integrating it into our federal and local discourse. Her ultimate goal is for mental health and physical health to be seen as each other’s equals.

Kaitlyn Lyle

Athlete Committee Co-Chair

Kaitlyn is a Division 1 gymnast and Whole Being Athlete Ambassador at the University of California, Davis who is committed to empowering others to see their worth on and off the field. She is pursuing a degree in Psychology while double minoring in Spanish and Education in the fall of 2024. She is passionate about destigmatizing mental health in athletics while dismantling the systems that have created a culture where the weight of athletic achievement is valued more than the human being behind it.

Blake Palmquist

Athlete Committee Co-Chair

Blake is a Bozeman, Montana native who began playing soccer at a young age and aspired to play professionally. Throughout his life, he has worked tremendously hard to do so and was able to play at each level and be a part of many unique experiences throughout his soccer career.

In his athletic journey, he has experienced countless moments with his mental health that affected his career to the point of retiring from soccer. As he searched for his new identity apart from soccer, he realized just he wanted to advocate for those like him who struggle with mental health and to be a part of something that can help so many athletes and individuals.

Alliance Members

Athlete Mental Health As A Human Right

Studies have shown that elite athletes are at the same risk of mental disorders as the general public. This risk is magnified amongst athletes who are injured, retired/retiring, and performing below expectations. To date, there is no systematic process at the elite level for screening, intervention, or support around athlete mental health; and no one entity who is responsible for this system of care. 

A growing coalition of athletes, athlete mental health organizations, nonprofits, and allies propose the creation of Athlete Mental Health Guiding Principles, supporting athletes across all levels of play, starting with youth sports development programs through elite athlete organizations and teams.

Our research on athlete mental health resulted in the following draft guiding principles, stating that athletes have the rights to:

  • Healthy bodies and healthy body images 
  • Support in career transition
  • Adequately manage injury
  • Mental health support for performance on and off the field
  • Timely referrals to mental health experts for psychological disorders and conditions
  • Training, education, and awareness focused on the importance of mental wellness, identifying mental health conditions, and finding mental health resources
  • Coaches and trainers who are trauma-informed, and have some level of mental health training
  • Equal and equitable access to mental health

View the policy brief here.

AHMA Origins

Want to see how AMHA came to be? Check out some highlights from our Day on the Hill in May 2023.

Our Work

Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day

On the morning of Wednesday, May 31st, 2023, Athletes for Hope (AFH) hosted its first Athlete Mental Health Advocacy Day at the U.S. Capitol.

Read more here.

Pledge To Reach Out

The first step to addressing mental health is by shattering the stigma & creating community. Seemingly small acts of checking in or offering support are more than kind – they can be lifesaving. Join athletes all over the country in pledging to say to others: “You are not alone.”

Add your name to the Pledge here.

Mental Health Resources

From crisis hotlines, to how to support teammates, to tips on how to stay mindful, there are so many resources available to support mental health. The Mental Health Resource Hub will be frequently updated with new content.

Access the Resource Hub here.

Athlete Mental Health Legislation

  • Ohio House Bill 33
    • Tucked into House Bill 33, Ohio’s budget bill, is a provision requiring all coaches to undergo mental health training. The goal is to help them identify students who are struggling, find them the help they may need, and hopefully, prevent them from hurting themselves or anyone else.
  • Maryland House Bill 375
    • Requiring the State Department of Education to develop guidelines for public schools and the Maryland Higher Education Commission to develop guidelines for public institutions of higher education to train coaches to recognize indicators of mental illness and behavioral distress in students who participate in athletic programs in public schools and public institutions of higher education; requiring public schools and public institutions that offer athletic programs to provide certain training to coaches
  • TEAMS Act
    • The Targeting Emotional And Mental Stability (TEAMS) Act would allow school-based initiatives supporting the mental health needs of college athletes to be eligible for the Garrett Lee Smith (GLS) Campus Suicide Prevention Grant Program. This grant targets mental health services at college students, including those at risk for suicide, depression, serious mental illness/serious emotional disturbances and/or substance use disorders that can lead to school failure.