COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee today announced the hiring of Dr. Jessica Bartley as its director of mental health services. Building on the organization's commitment to support athletes holistically, Bartley will be responsible for the development and implementation of mental health services and programming for Team USA.
Bartley enters the first-of-its-kind role with more than a decade of work in the mental health space. In her role, Bartley will direct the clinical pathways for mental health assessment, referral, treatments and management. As part of the sports medicine team, Bartley will collaborate closely with the USOPC's sport psychology team and internal mental health working group as she leads the management of mental health crisis, and the development and execution of mental health emergency action plans for Team USA athletes.
"It was imperative we find someone to join our athlete services team and lead our mental health initiatives who has a strong clinical background and previous experience working with elite athletes," said Bahati VanPelt, USOPC chief of athlete services. "We are thrilled our broad search led us to Dr. Bartley. The USOPC continues to demonstrate its commitment to improving its resources to support athlete wellbeing and building on the steps we’ve already taken. We have the utmost confidence in Jessica to elevate our level of service to meet the needs of Team USA athletes.”
Prior to joining the USOPC, Bartley spent nearly eight years at the University of Denver in roles as a clinical assistant professor in the sport and performance psychology program, as well as a behavioral health consultant and staff psychologist. Prior to the University of Denver, she worked as a clinical psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A licensed psychologist and licensed clinical social worker in the state of Colorado, Bartley is also a certified mental performance consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.
Dr. Jessica Bartley will serve as the USOPC's new director of mental health services.
Bartley brings previous experience from the Olympic and Paralympic movements, having done contract work as a clinical sport psychologist with USA Karate and having worked to serve the mental health and performance needs for USA Track & Field athletes.
"I'm thrilled to be joining the team behind Team USA to strengthen its work in the mental health space," said Bartley. "I have a great passion for providing service to athletes as they navigate the world of elite sport, and I'm committed to ensuring we provide the highest level of support and resources to athletes within the Olympic and Paralympic movements."
The hiring of Bartley is the latest step in the USOPC's efforts to deliver on its commitment to enhance wellness resources to Team USA athletes. In April, the USOPC created the Mental Health Taskforce, which works to develop best practices, resources and action plans to support the mental health needs of Team USA athletes and those who support them, both on and off the field of play. Following the formation of the Taskforce, three independent mental health officers joined the USOPC in July to expand mental health offerings for the U.S. athlete community. Finally, the creation of the Mental Health Fund took place in September, which will supplement important funding for USOPC mental health through a $1.5 million donation to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation from donors Yucca and Gary Rieschel. More details on the USOPC’s mental health offerings and resources can be found at TeamUSA.org/MentalHealth.
Bartley earned a bachelor's degree in government and sociology and a master's degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. She went on to complete a master's degree in sport and performance psychology and a doctorate degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in sport and performance psychology and behavioral therapy at the University of Denver.
Bartley begins her role at the USOPC on Monday, Sept. 28.