AURORA, Colo. — After several recent student #suicides, #highschool #coaches in #Colorado will now be required to take a course in #mentalhealth and #suicideprevention due to a new mandate from the #ColoradoHighSchoolActivitiesAssociation (CHSAA) board of directors.
Research by the U.S. #DepartmentofHealthandHumanServices shows 31% of high school students reported #depression symptoms in 2017 and 17% seriously considered suicide.
#Highschool #athletes build special bonds with their coaches, who are sometimes the first person a student turns to for help. That is something CHSAA wants to build upon.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
“Multiple incidents, as you know in the media, have occurred in our state that made us feel we need to be more intentional as a state association to lead the charge to expanding some awareness,” Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said.
She said CHSAA’s Sports Advisory Committee came up with the mandate and heavily recommended it to the board, which adopted it.
The #NationalFederationofHighSchoolSports offers the 20-minute course online and it’s free. Some school districts also offer courses in #mentalhealth, which also meet the new requirement.
“Truly, the course is about making coaches aware [of] seeing some of the warning signs and then kind of how to report those certain things to the next level or to reach out immediately for help for a kid in crisis,” Blanford-Green said.
CHSAA’s goal is to open up the conversation and give coaches information about resources to help kids without putting too much pressure on the coaches.
“We do not want to place our coaches in a position to be diagnostic in any way. We just need them to be aware because coaches’ relationships with students is oftentimes the first person that sees that,” said Blanford-Green.
CHSAA leaders say athletics is second to the #mentalhealth and well-being of its #athletes.
“Our focus is really making sure the #highschool experience for our students in Colorado — they walk away with that caring component,” Blanford-Green said.
The organization has had many #coaches already take the course, and so far, it says the feedback is overwhelmingly positive.