Teammates often turn to one another for support in times of trouble. If a teammate has come to you, consider it a sign of trust and strength. Many people struggle in finding the most appropriate way to respond. Below are some tips:
Helpful Points to Consider When Helping a Teammate
- Stop what you are doing, look at the person, and simply listen.
- Listen and accept what you are given. Ask questions for clarification without judging. One of the biggest mistakes someone can make is to respond as if the problem is a sign of weakness or unimportant or trivial.
- Indicate you are glad he/she came to you and you want to help. Don't assume, but clarify what help the person may want.
- Make the necessary referral and encourage/support its acceptance. Consulting with a CAPS or Department of Athletics counselor or other mental health professional is an excellent way to feel confident in your support.
- Know your limits. Be aware of what is reasonable to expect from yourself. Know your resources. You cannot always change the person/situation because you have limited control. Take care of yourself.
- Plant the seed. It can be difficult to reach out/accept help. Helping your teammate may simply be accepting her/his decision to not seek support at this time, and offering your hand when the time comes. Adapted from NCAA: "Managing Student-Athletes' Mental Health Issues"