Let's Talk About Mental Wellness: New Content Series Focuses on Mental Health in Athletes

By USA Triathlon | Nov. 01, 2018, 6 p.m. (ET)

Mental Wellness

Dr. Mitchell Greene, a clinical and sport psychologist, located in Haverford, Pennsylvania, will write articles for USA Triathlon about mental health for athletes. For more information on Dr. Greene and his services for triathletes, go to greenepsych.com.

Depression knows no boundaries. 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any given year, an estimated 16.2 million adults in the U.S. experience a major depressive episode. And an estimated 40 million adults live with anxiety disorders.

The incidence of those conditions, often linked, in the endurance sports population is probably similar, as a 2017 review of research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found no difference in depressive symptoms between what the researchers called "high-performance" athletes and non athletes. 

Age-groupers or Olympic-caliber, all levels of athletes are affected by mental illness. 

So, we should talk about it. 

Inspired by trailblazing Olympians Michael Phelps and Sarah True, who are breaking the stigma of mental illness by publicly sharing their struggles with depression, USA Triathlon wants to start conversations about athletes' mental health.

Dr. Mitchell Greene, a licensed clinical and sport psychologist located in Haverford, Pennsylvania, has partnered with USA Triathlon as a contributing columnist writing about mental health in athletes. A sport psychology consultant to several athletic departments, endurance coaches and national race series, Greene's clients include professional and age-group athletes.

Greene's articles for USA Triathlon will discuss mental wellness issues for athletes, including managing negative thoughts and anxiety before a competition and prescribing exercise to help mental health.

Check out the first installment of the series, Dr. Greene's book review of “Running is My Therapy: Relieve Stress and Anxiety, Fight Depression, Ditch Bad Habits, and Live Happier,” written by Scott Douglas, a contributing editor to Runner’s World and author of several acclaimed books on running.

Douglas shares research findings in "Running is My Therapy" that show the “cumulative effect” of running leads to lasting changes in brain chemistry that mimic the effects of anti-depressants and similar medications. Research suggests that running two times (or more) a week can stabilize depression, lower anxiety, invigorate your life, and — even more impressively — result in a “healthier brain.”

Through January, Dr. Greene's mental health articles will be featured once a month in the Multisport Zone e-newsletter, delivered on Tuesdays. Multisport Zone, a weekly e-newsletter produced by USA Triathlon, provides expert training and nutrition tips from USA Triathlon Certified coaches, as well as inspiring stories from age group triathletes. Subscribe to the free e-newsletter.