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Washington, D.C. — The American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) is proud to announce a new strategic partnership with Athletes for Hope (AFH), a leading U.S. sports non-profit that educates, encourages, and empowers professional, Olympic, Paralympic, and college athletes to find their charitable passions and use their platforms to positively impact their communities. Together, APAF and AFH will highlight a diverse array of mental health and wellness insights, with the goal of inspiring more people to seek care. The partnership shines a light on the varied demands of professional and amateur athletic life and how these demands, when left unchecked, can contribute to poor mental health outcomes in athletes in the U.S. and beyond.
Founded in 2006 by legendary athletes such as Muhammad Ali, Mia Hamm, and Andre Agassi, Athletes for Hope has grown to become the largest U.S. sports non-profit, with more than 12,000 athletes who volunteer with AFH programs that focus on improving physical and mental health outcomes in underserved communities. Although many assume that athletes do not struggle with their mental health, the opposite is true. More than one out of every three elite athletes experience mental health challenges and are at a higher risk of developing life-threatening conditions.
"Partnering with a best-in-class organization such as the APA Foundation is a powerful step forward in generating greater awareness and action around the importance of mental health," said AFH Chief Executive Officer Jason Belinkie. "In lockstep with the APAF and our passionate community of mental health champions, we will drive positive change around mental health outcomes in our society."
APAF and AFH have partnered to improve outcomes through social media campaigns, virtual and in-person panel webinars, and a new National Mental Health Advocacy Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights will detail best practices for supporting athlete mental wellness and provide a roadmap for equal access to mental health resources at all levels of sport. Recently, many Olympic athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have been outspoken about the difficulty of maintaining mental wellness under extreme pressure, and the Bill of Rights will open this conversation to include the collegiate and amateur athletic communities.
"We look forward to deepening our relationship with Athletes for Hope as the APA Foundation prepares to launch a new mental health literacy campaign, and expands its ‘Where We Play’ platform," said Rawle Andrews, Jr., Esq., APAF Executive Director. "We are preparing the champions of tomorrow for healthy, balanced careers by connecting with young athletes today."
The athletic community is a key steward of APAF’s vision of a mentally healthy nation where we live, learn, work, worship, and play. In partnership with Athletes for Hope, APAF is committed to ensuring better mental health outcomes and removing barriers to mental health care for athletes at all levels of sport.
The American Psychiatric Association Foundation is the philanthropic and educational arm of APA. The APA Foundation promotes awareness of mental illnesses and the effectiveness of treatment, the importance of early intervention, access to care, and the need for high-quality services and treatment through a combination of public and professional education, research, research training, grants, and awards.
The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 38,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research of mental illnesses. APA's vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.