Professor Chu spoke with North Jersey on the stress of COVID disruptions for high school coaches

Professor Chu spoke with North Jersey, part of the USA Today Network, on the stress of COVID disruptions for high school coaches. Having athletes at such elite levels talk openly about their own mental health struggles has increased awareness and led to more conversation.

“I definitely see the trickle-down effect, as you’d imagine, when there are athletes [that] the younger generations admire, and they see that those athletes speak out and are willing to talk about mental health,” Chu said. “The more they internalize the fact that it is OK to not be OK, it is fine to struggle, and it is OK to seek help, and that seeking help is a sign of strength rather than weakness.” Larger organizations, like statewide governing bodies or the NCAA, could also lead by example by speaking out about mental health and pushing for better mental health policies across the board, said Chu. “It needs to be a systemic intervention – top down, from [larger] organizations then going down to athletic directors, encouraging them, and then going down to different athletic staff, coaches, athletes,” Chu said. “And I think the more we encourage that, the more we’ll see a better balance and healthier sport culture in our society.”

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