Nearly eight million teens played sports in high school last year, based on a survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Sports can play an integral role in teenage mental health treatment. The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition Science Board, which is a subcommittee of the Council that helps elevate scientific research related to physical activity, physical fitness, sports, and nutrition, compiled a comprehensive list of the ways in which youth sports can benefit teen mental health, some of which include the following:
- Lower rates of anxiety and depression.
- Lower amounts of stress.
- Higher self-esteem and confidence.
- Reduced risk of suicide.
- Less substance abuse and fewer risky behaviors.
- Increased cognitive performance.
- Increased creativity.
- Greater enjoyment of all forms of physical activity.
- Improved psychological and emotional well-being for individuals with disabilities.
- Increased life satisfaction.
- Improved teamwork, social skills, and social responsibility.
- Improved life skills (e.g., goal setting, time management, work ethic, empathy, negotiation, etc.).
- Increased empowerment, personal responsibility, and self-control.
- Improved educational and occupational skills (e.g., determination, perseverance, grit, resilience, critical thinking).
- Higher levels of academic achievement.
- Greater leadership qualities.
- High school athletes are more likely to attend and graduate from a four-year college.
One study, that examined whether organized sports participation during childhood and adolescence was related to participation in sports and physical fitness activities in young adulthood, concluded that “adolescents who play sports are 8 times more likely to be physically active at age 24 than those who do not play sports.” The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a narrative review called Physical Exercise and Mental Health: The Routes of a Reciprocal Relation, which examined the effect of exercise and sport in improving mental health outcomes in teenagers. It begins by stating “A key relationship between mental and physical health has been hypothesized and observed since ancient times with the Latin motto ‘mens sana in corpore sano’ (healthy mind in a healthy body).” Encouraging teens to participate in youth sports and regular physical activity can enhance any young person’s quality of life, particularly those struggling with mental health challenges.
For Information and Support
Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.