Penn State Athletics Announces Mental Health and Wellness Initiatives

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania. – Penn State Athletics announced a pair of important initiatives to improve mental health services for its student-athletes. Heidi Christy and Kathryn (Katy) Pohland will join the health and wellness staff. Christy and Pohland will serve as athletic advisors and provide additional health and wellness resources and support to student-athletes. Additionally, Athletics announced a partnership with Mantra Health, the nation’s leading digital mental health clinic for young adults, to provide clinically comprehensive mental health services to its student-athletes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. .

“Supporting good mental health is personal to me and essential to our department,” said Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Patrick Kraft. “We need to do our part to change the way mental health is perceived and to fight the stigma around it. Most importantly, mental health plays a vital role in the holistic well-being and development of student-athletes, and we encourage our student-athletes to make it a priority and seek help when they need it.

“We look forward to Heidi and Katy joining our staff and building our mental health and wellness department with two additional positions. These four staff members and the addition of our partnership with Mantra Health will provide complementary resources to our student-athletes. Our efforts today will impact our student-athletes for years to come.”

Christy and Pohland are the first two of four health and wellness posts added to help student-athletes.

Heidi Christy

Christy, a licensed social worker, joined Penn State Athletics on Nov. 21 after spending the past 11 years as a therapist for private practice in Butler, Pennsylvania. In her role, she provided individual therapy, group therapy for adolescents, crisis management and continuing care planning. Christy has also worked as a part-time teacher in the psychology department at Butler County Community College since 2016.

Prior to joining the private sector, Christy served as Lawrence County Director for Catholic Charities from 2009-2012 and served as a PATH Coordinator from 2006-2009. She also spent time at the Community Resource Center and the Community Mental Health Center Irene Stacy.

A native of Butler County, Pennsylvania, Christy graduated from Slippery Rock University in 1999 with a degree in social work and earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh in 2004.

Catherine Pohland

Pohland, who starts Dec. 1, comes to Happy Valley after spending the past 15 years as a vice president and therapist at Life’s Journey Counseling Center. In her position, Pohland facilitated assessments, diagnoses and treatments for individuals, families and couples. She coordinated care with social workers, primary care physicians, psychiatrists and educational staff at local schools and universities.

Prior to joining Life’s Journey Counseling Center, Pohland served as an assistant psychologist for nine years at the Stern Center for Developmental and Behavioral Health. She consulted directly with the psychologist regarding diagnosis and services, in addition to facilitating assessments, diagnosis and services for children and adolescents. Pohland has also served as a therapist at Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services, Unity Family Services, and Adelphoi Village.

A native of Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Pohland received her bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from Penn State in 2000. She also received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Seton Hill University in 2005. Pohland is a licensed therapist in Pennsylvania since 2008.

Athletics adds partnership with Mantra Health

Penn State Athletics has partnered with Mantra Health, which has partnered with the University since 2020 for psychiatric services, to provide its more than 850 student-athletes with accessible virtual therapy nights and weekends.

“Less than half of female student-athletes believe their mental health is a priority for their athletic departments, and that’s not enough,” said Ed Gaussen, co-founder and CEO of Mantra Health. “We have guided therapists clinically trained in the issues facing student-athletes, who not only navigate the classroom and the field, but face additional barriers to care including busy schedules, responsibilities costs and the stigma associated with help-seeking behaviors.Mantra Health works closely with Penn State Athletics to combat this and ensure that all student-athletes are not only aware of the services available, but that they are entitled to use them.”

According to an NCAA report, depression and anxiety among student-athletes are twice as common as they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, less than half of student-athletes said they would be comfortable seeking mental health care on campus, and only one in 10 college athletes use professional mental health care.

Student-athletes at Penn State Athletics, home to 31 NCAA Division I teams, will now have access to an extensive network of diverse digital mental health providers.

“Student-athletes are often celebrated for their accomplishments on the field, but that means they are immune to mental health issues. At Mantra Health, we look forward to fostering an environment and support system that will help these athletes to thrive physically, academically and emotionally,” said Gaussen.

About Mantra Health

Mantra Health is a digital mental health clinic whose mission is to improve access to evidence-based mental health care for young adults. By augmenting high-quality clinical services with software and design, we aim to improve the mental health of over 20 million university and college students through partnerships with higher education institutions and insurance plans. sickness. The Mantra program has been rolled out to 105 campuses with more than 800,000 students, including Penn State, MIT, Cornell and Miami Dade College.

Learn more about how Mantra Health helps student-athletes here.

Penn State Athletics Announces Mental Health and Wellness Initiatives

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