Colorado requires mental health training for HS coaches

July 11, 2019

Colorado high school coaches will now be required to take a course that improves their abilities to help student-athletes who may be struggling with mental health difficulties.

The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) adopted the requirement in late June, and it will go into effect this fall. Coaches have the option of taking the "Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention" course offered free by the NFHS, or undergo training within their own districts.

athlete mental healthA new report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that suicide rates have increased dramatically since 2000. The study's authors said the youth suicide rate (14.6 per 100,000) appears to be the highest it’s been since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began maintaining statistics.

In 2017, boys aged 15 to 19 killed themselves at a rate of 17.9 per 100,000, up from 13 per 100,000 in 2000. For young girls, the rate has nearly doubled since 2000.

According to the CHSAA website, the mandate has the support of the state's Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC).

"The committee was focused on finding great tools that we can give to our schools and coaches to help provide awareness around mental health, which is among the most important issues our students face," Jenn Roberts-Uhlig, the CHSAA staff liaison to the SMAC, said in an article written by Ryan Casey. "We believe it is important for coaches to not be afraid to look for the signs and symptoms of a student who is struggling with their mental health, and this training will provide valuable instruction in how to do that."

Read more from the CHSAA.

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