Post By: Steve Graef, PhD | Thursday, March 5, 2020


Even though Mindurance is dedicated to helping performers of all kinds manage stress and enhance performance, I cut my teeth working with student-athletes as one of the counseling and sport psychologists at The Ohio State University.I was also a football player at Ohio State in college, so athletes and the student-athlete population in particular, is one that is near, dear, and familiar to my heart. As such, the Forbes article “The Mental Health of Student-Athletes: A Necessary Operational Investment in Contemporary Collegiate Athletics” by Patrick Rishe resonated not only with me personally, but speaks to the type of issues Mindurance is aiming to address and the outcomes it hopes to obtain. Here are a few takeaways.

  1. Mental health occurs on a continuum.There is a whole spectrum of “mental health” ranging from thriving performance enhancement to your typical daily management of stress to the diagnosis and treatment of psychological illness.As such, it is important to address mental health all along that continuum. Mindurance is focusing on the performance enhancement and stress management points along the continuum (while fully appreciating the causes and concerns associated with mental illness) in the belief that by doing so will not only help performers thrive in the domains that they identify with, but that they may also avoid or reduce the likelihood of severe bouts of mental illness by proactively addressing and learning to manage stress.
  2. Wellness impacts the bottom-line. When we consider mental, physical, social, or financial performance, one's wellness is no doubt an influential factor.A little stress or dis-ease might help to enhanceone's performance because of the cathartic release the activity offers.However, too much stress could potentially impede the physiological, intellectual, or creative pursuit and cap one's performance.Finally, if stress gets completely ignored, it could have catastrophic consequences such as increased injury, accidents, or illnesses.For this reason, if our team, our employees, our actors, our musicians, our dancers, our surgeons, our soldiers are not proactively managing their mental health (along the entirety of the continuum) then that could lead to a decrease in performance and productivity.Yes, mental wellness impacts the bottom-line.
  3. Athletes aren't the only ones.I've made reference to this a bit already, however there are many other types of performers in this world other than athletes.I, in fact, sang in a rock cover band, did improv, taught college classes, and facilitated yoga.All of which required leveraging the mental, physical, strategic, and technical aspects of performance, while also managing the stress of a challenging performance endeavor.Suffice it to say, we all perform.Though yes, there are some populations of people that enact performance more in the traditional or obvious sense.Athletes, dancers, actors, musicians, soldiers, police officers, surgeons, business executives etc.People that truly need to “turn it on” when they need.Though these are the types of performers Mindurance markets to, they are not the only types of performers that need strategies, an ear, a dedicated space, and just plain support. As such, the content, courses, and coaches that are available on the Mindurance site are also available to the non-traditional performer.
  4. Understaffed.Though universities and major league sports have come a long way in employing mental performance coaches, counselors, social workers, and psychologists, the reality is that most places are still understaffed. Take for instance, there are approximates 950 Division 2, 3, and NAIA colleges.I can count on one hand how any of them have a dedicated sport and performance mental health professional. In fact, some of them might only have one counselor on staff for an entire community of 4000+ students.As a result, resources are limited.When resources are limited access is limited.When access is limited, issues persist.This is where Mindurance comes in.Those students that might have bottle necked the counseling center for basic stress management or to get better at test taking might be better suited calling a remote platform at their convenience and picking from a large offering of professionals.One's that best meet and match their needs. That is what Mindurance is hoping to accomplish from its Mindurance Now platform.
  5. Education is key.In the article, they make reference to the importance of education. But where is this education coming from?As stated above, many (most) schools lack the resources to effectively meet the need of the calendar year, yet alone offer up on-going educational opportunities.And we're just talking schools.What about your business organization?Your dance studio? Your artist agency? Is your education up to snuff or is it lacking? Where do you direct your people for good resources in the effective management and enhancement of stress and performance? Google? EAP? No idea? Yes, yes, yes.The result.Inconsistent. Inefficient. Out of scope.Now, don't get me wrong.I'm not hating.There are a lot of great resources out there, but shit, we can do better.Mindurance aims to do better by curating content and knowledge from the expert platform providers, as well as all the good stuff the internet has to offer.This content, these courses, and those coaches are vetted so that you know the information is reliable, researched, and relevant.
  6. Money matters. At the end of the day, money matters.A Division 2 school might want a sport and performance psychologist, but if it ain't in the budget, they ain't getting one. Same with the studio, the agency, the business, the academy. The cure here isn't easy, so it's important to provide options.Maybe some articles and relevant videos are free to access, which could offer a new mindset about things.Perhaps there are online-courses that offer a little more in-depth education, training, and support but at a cost-effective purchase price.Though maybe also having access to providers that range in cost that could offer services at a rate and duration that fits in your budget.Lastly, bringing groups of people together in a forum for a workshop can be a streamlined approach that has many touch points at once, while being easier on the wallet.Which one does Mindurance focus on?All of them.

Conclusion.Listen, this isn't meant to toot the Mindurance horn.At the end of the day, we're trying to do our small part to help tackle the growing concerns that exists in performers of all types along the mental health continuum.We are doing this by choosing to focus on the performance enhancement and stress management anchor points of that continuum.In doing so, we offer touch points for a lot of people, including student-athletes. So, as Patrick Rishe stated in his title, focusing on student-athlete mental health (along the full-spectrum) is no longer a luxury, it's a necessity. And you can bet your ass Mindurance is up for the task. Are you?