The team behind the team: prevalence and correlates of mental health problems among professional football team medical and allied staff?
Lima Y, Deniz Öz N, Devran S, Rice S, Bayraktar B. Res Sports Med. 2023 May 27:1-12. doi: 10.1080/15438627.2023.2216827. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 37243617.
Depression (37%), anxiety (25%), and stress (81%) are common among medical and allied health staff for professional football teams in Turkey.
Medical and allied health staff for sports teams often encounter workplace stress, which could impact their job performance and longevity. Understanding the prevalence of stress, depression, and anxiety can help organizations implement strategies to ensure the mental well-being of their medical staff.
The researchers surveyed medical and allied health staff with professional football teams in Turkey to evaluate the prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress.
Researchers used an anonymous online survey with demographic questions, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (depression), General Anxiety Disorder-7 (anxiety), and Perceived Stress Scale-10 (stress). In all standardized scales, higher scores indicated higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, respectively. The authors sent the survey to all 865 medical and allied health staff who attended a professional development accreditation course at the end of the 2021-2022 season.
A total of 573 (66%) respondents completed the questionnaire. Most respondents were male, married, and had no secondary employment. At least moderate severity stress, depression, and anxiety were reported by 81%, 37%, and 25%, respectively. Staff who were younger, had less work experience, and were single were more likely to report stress. Staff with a lower income were more likely to report more depression, anxiety, and stress scores than their better-paid peers.
About 1 in 5 adults in the United States have been diagnosed with depression. Similarly, 1 in 5 adults report an anxiety disorder in the past year. Clinicians are not immune to mental health concerns and work in environments that can stress them significantly. Clinicians should know that depression, anxiety, and stress are common in the sports medicine team. Hence, clinicians should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety for themselves and their peers. While we often don’t discuss our mental health as often as our physical health, it is important to recognize that when we are experiencing stress, depression, or anxiety, we are not alone and should engage in resources through our employer or outside resources. Employers can also use the results of this study to understand the impact that being a member of the medical or allied health staff can have. They can and should work to promote all mental health resources available to their employees and, when possible, seek to expand the mental health support resources. As a community, we also need to work on destigmatizing mental health concerns and promoting mental health resources for our patients and peers.
Clinicians should know that stress, depression, and anxiety are common among the sports medicine team. Employers should also play an active role by communicating the available mental health resources to their employees and consider adopting additional resources and support for their medical and allied health staff.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in a crisis, call or text 988 (in the United States) or chat 988lifeline.org
Questions for Discussion
What experience do you have with mental health support from your current employer? What strategies have you found from your employer or outside of work, to help properly manage your stress?
Written by Kyle Harris
Reviewed by Jeffrey Driban
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