American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting

American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine Annual Meeting

Source:

Coyles J. Development of mental health best practices model. Presented at: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Association of North America Combined Meeting; July 7-11, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee.

Disclosures: Coyles reports he is an employee of Major League Baseball.
July 19, 2021
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MLB provides mental health resources to improve athlete well-being

Source:

Coyles J. Development of mental health best practices model. Presented at: American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Association of North America Combined Meeting; July 7-11, 2021; Nashville, Tennessee.

Disclosures: Coyles reports he is an employee of Major League Baseball.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Major League Baseball aimed to create an inclusive environment that promotes proper and accessible mental health resources for athletes, club employees and their families, according to a presenter.

In his presentation at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and Arthroscopy Association of North America Combined Meeting, Jon Coyles, JD, said the goals of the mental health initiative of the MLB are to:

- Further increase mental health awareness;

- Destigmatize the challenges that athletes and staff members may be facing;

- Provide first-class services to MLB players and club personnel;

- Normalize the process of care seeking; and

- Ensure that those in need receive proper, confidential care and assistance when needed.

Mental health program

Based on a model employed by several MLB policy programs, Coyles noted the mental health program was a joint initiative of the MLB, the MLB Players Association and the athletes to create confidential and effective evaluation and treatment resources for those in need.

“We have also worked with the players union to develop criteria for players to go on the injured list when they are struggling with certain mental health issues and require treatment,” Coyles said.

He added the MLB created early intervention programs on mental health awareness as well as established a list of credentialed and licensed mental health clinicians to develop trust with the players and provide assistance when needed.

Jon Coyles
Jon Coyles

The MLB plans to keep mental health as a major focus of the athletes and teams by renegotiating the collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players Association every 5 years, according to Coyles.

“We anticipate engaging in a collaborative review and update of our current policies and resources with our players and with the players union,” Coyles said.

Recommendations for improvement

For improving mental health assistance for athletes, Coyles said it is critical to create guidelines regarding the roles and responsibilities of mental health professionals in the industry, with important distinctions between licensed clinicians who are able to diagnose and treat psychological concerns among athletes.

“It is also important that these professionals collaborate with one another, be aware of the areas that they are responsible for and refer athletes to the proper individual should an issue arise,” Coyles said.

He added it is important to involve athletes in the mental health program, to listen to their perspective on what resources are important and how to support and assist them with the challenges they perceive and face.

“Our goal is to continue to improve on enhancing and promoting the resources and awareness on mental health throughout our industry,” Coyles said. “We look to further define the roles and responsibilities of the mental health professionals that are in place to assist our athletes. We are working currently on establishing minimum standards for the mental health services that are provided.”