A systematic review and meta-synthesis of mental health position statements in sport: Scope, quality and future directions

Publication Name

Psychology of Sport and Exercise


Objectives: The purpose of this systematic review was to provide clarity, guidance, and an overview of existing statements regarding athlete mental health and wellbeing. Design: We systematically searched and reviewed all mental health position statements that have received formal endorsement from a governing sport body (e.g., National Sporting Organization). We provide a description and overview of the purposes of those statements, and then synthesize the recommendations and guidelines contained within those statements. Finally, we provide a quality appraisal of each statement. To achieve these aims, meta-synthesis procedures guided our analysis. Results: Thirteen distinct statements were found, and the content of these statements were organized in six overarching themes: writing a mental health plan; provision of mental health care; athlete support system; high risk events; athlete mental health; and future directions. However, the quality and consistency of the existing statements was low, particularly in the areas of stakeholder engagement and rigor of development. Conclusion: When accumulated and meta-synthesized, the 13 statements provide a potential foundation for policy makers in the area of mental health and sport. We recommend that policy makers proceed with caution when using these position statements as a basis for mental health policy in sport. However, more robust development methods are needed moving forward when future mental health statements or guidelines are developed.

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