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An Athlete’s Achilles Heel: The Risk Stratification of Athletes and Barriers to Mental Health Care

Available: July 1, 2024 - July 1, 2027


This course is free to members for the month of July 2024. On August 1, 2024, the course will be available for purchase.


A significant number of athletes suffer from conditions such as Depressive disorders, Anxiety disorders, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Eating disorders, Body dysmorphic disorder, and Substance abuse disorders. The world of professional sports often sensationalizes the rollercoaster of events from NCAA competitions and their athletes. Considering collegiate athletes stakes, this unique environment may exacerbate these disorders. The context can be competitions for scholarships, NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals, and professional aspirations. Most current models of mental health around athletes are centered on the socialization of mental health awareness. However, they are insufficient to address athletes'' varied mental health needs. These models utilize risk factors for athletes, though they stop short of providing decisions on management and next steps. In this session, we will elucidate the current “state of play” of the prevalence of psychiatric conditions among athletes from the collegiate to the major leagues. We will then discuss holistic factors of an athlete’s emotional, mental, physical, social, spiritual, and environmental influences. We will discuss the Athlete Psychological Strain Questionnaire, touching on the benefits and drawbacks of this tool in identifying athletes at risk for mental health decline. We will highlight the studies relating to factors such as enduring injuries that require a protracted recovery and rehabilitative period, sustained multiple concussions, overtraining syndrome, performance expectations, athletic identity, and the involuntary termination of an athletic career. The presenters will include in the session several preventative components that athletes and their coaches can utilize to provide support before a decline in mental health, specifically regarding depression and suicide. We will propose a measuring tool to stratify a particular athlete for their vulnerability towards a decline in mental health. We hope to demonstrate our main points through examples and media and provide a handout at the end of the session, encapsulating our salient points along with our proposed risk factors. We hope this innovative model will foster collaboration with sports societies and motivate a new wave of mental health-conscious coaches and support staff. We hope a conversation of this caliber will open dialogue amongst mental health professionals, athletes, and their coaches to collaborate and initiate a change.


Recorded webinar, non-interactive, self-paced distance learning activity.

This presentation was recorded at the American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting 2023.

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the psychiatric comorbidities associated with athletes.
  • Recognize and appreciate the risk factors of an athlete developing depression, suicidality, or other mental health conditions.
  • Examine the barriers to treating athletes and apply techniques to overcome these barriers
  • Identify three prevention strategies for reducing mental illness within the athlete population.

Target Audience

Medical Students, Residents/Fellows, Psychiatrists

Estimated Time to Complete

Estimated Duration: 1.5 hours
Begin Date: July 1, 2024
End Date: July 1, 2027

How to Earn Credit

Participants who wish to earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™ or a certificate of participation may do so by completing all sections of the course including the evaluation. After evaluating the program, course participants will be provided with an opportunity to claim hours of participation and print an official CME certificate (physicians) or certificate of participation (non-physicians) showing the event date and hours earned.

Continuing Education Credit

In support of improving patient care, the American Psychiatric Association is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


The APA designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit ™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty and Planner Disclosures

The American Psychiatric Association adheres to the ACCME’s Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Medical Education. Any individuals in a position to control the content of a CME activity — including faculty, planners, reviewers or others — are required to disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible entities (commercial interests). All relevant conflicts of interest have been mitigated prior to the commencement of the activity.

Program Presenters

  • Bhagwan A. Bagroo, MD, LFAPA.
  • Thanh T. Nguyen, MD.
  • Katrina L. Wachter, MD.
  • Marissa Anne Manning, DO.

Program Planners

  • Vishal Madaan, MD. Chief of Education and Deputy Medical Director, APA.

Accessibility for Participants with Disabilities

The American Psychiatric Association is committed to ensuring accessibility of its website to people with disabilities. If you have trouble accessing any of APA’s online resources, please contact us at 202-559-3900 for assistance.

Technical Requirements

This internet-based CME activity is best experienced using any of the following:

  • The latest and 2nd latest public versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Safari
  • Internet Explorer 11+

This Web site requires that JavaScript and session cookies be enabled. Certain activities may require additional software to view multimedia, presentation, or printable versions of the content. These activities will be marked as such and will provide links to the required software. That software may be: Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Windows Media Player.

Optimal System Configuration:

  • Browser: Google Chrome (latest and 2nd latest version), Safari (latest and 2nd latest version), Internet Explorer 11.0+, Firefox (latest and 2nd latest version), or Microsoft Edge (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Operating System: Windows versions 8.1+, Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) +, Android (latest and 2nd latest version), or iOS/iPad OS (latest and 2nd latest version)
  • Internet Connection: 1 Mbps or higher

Minimum Requirements:

  • Windows PC: Windows 8.1 or higher; 1 GB (for 32-bit)/2 GB (for 64-bit) or higher RAM; Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher with latest updates installed; Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (867MHz or faster) processor; 512 MB or higher RAM; audio playback with speakers for programs with video content

For assistance: Contact for questions about this activity | Contact for technical assistance

Availability: On-Demand
Expires on Jul 01, 2027
Cost: Member: $0.00
Non-Member: $37.50
Medical Student: $0.00
Resident Fellow Member: $0.00
Credit Offered:
1.5 CME Credits
1.5 COP Credits
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