Prominent athletes around the world have been speaking out about their mental health issues. On January 26, Dr. Marc Felizzi, associate professor in the School of Social Work, will tackle the important and perhaps overlooked issue - the ways that social work can help athletes in the development of their mental health.
Felizzi will present the free online talk titled, “Opportunities for Social Work to Assist Athletes’ Mental Health Development,” on Wednesday, January 26 from noon to 1 p.m. Those interested in attending the Zoom webinar can register by clicking here. This talk is part of an ongoing speaker series called the ‘Ville Voices Speaker Series that takes place online and features Millersville University faculty experts presenting on a wide range of topics.
Felizzi explains that he chose this topic for personal reasons. “I have been involved in coaching of youth to professional level athletes for over 40 years,” he explains. “I have seen terrific athletes unmade by the abuse they have suffered at the hands of coaches and managers who felt they were responding to athletes in such a way as to ‘motivate’ them. Emotional abuse and abusive behavior have never been found to be a motivating factor for any athlete.”
He also notes that student-athletes may require different types of support and even suffer from different types of mental health challenges that could go unnoticed. “They have been working on their skill set for years, and have made many sacrifices in social, emotional, academic and in family settings while pursuing their sport,” says Felizzi. “When they are at their lowest emotionally, they can be in dark areas. Besides depression and anxiety, they may face the onset of eating disorders, need to be educated on drug and alcohol use and abuse, understand what their careers and educational opportunities can offer them in the future, and they face the realization that they may not be able to participate in their sport after a certain point.” Felizzi stresses that athletes need emotional support and a safe space to express their feelings.
Millersville University offers a dual Master of Social Work/Master of Education in sport management for those interested in working with and supporting athletes at all levels, from youth sports to professional. To learn more about the program, click here.
Want to learn more about this topic? Sign up to attend the January 26 webinar by clicking here.