USC-MHS Learning Center

USC-MHS: In Pursuit of a Mission

By Margaret Domka 

The US Center for Mental Health & Sport (USC-MHS) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization in pursuit of a mission to provide a sports environment for all participants that allows their mental wellness to thrive. We believe in participation in sport and the numerous benefits gained from participation. But we also believe that one area where sport organizations can do better for everyone involved is in supporting mental health. Our official mission statement reflects our aim to help sport organizations do just that.

Our mission:

The US Center for Mental Health & Sport develops sport environments that allow for optimum mental wellness by providing mental health training and resources, opening pathways to access additional mental health support services, and committing to the advancement of mental health and sport research.

The Growing Mental Health Crisis:

Our organization was initiated in recognition of a mental health crisis impacting our entire nation and touching the lives of individuals in all age groups. As annual data collected by Mental Health America indicates, youth and adult mental health has worsened and this decline has accelerated due to COVID-19; rates of suicide, suicidal ideation, and thoughts of self-harm are increasing; there is greater unmet need for treatment and significant percentages of both youth and adults who are uninsured or do not have access to mental health care services.

Why Address Mental Health in Sports?

In acknowledging the growing mental health crisis, our organization sees a twofold role for sport organizations in communities.

  1. With the rates of individuals facing challenging mental health experiences on the rise, our communities cannot rely on clinical healthcare settings alone to counteract this crisis, nor is it in the best interest of our community members to allow mental health issues to go unsupported until they have worsened to the point of needing clinical care. Our communities need local organizations to become involved and play an active role in supporting mental health. Sports organizations already play an integral role in our communities, and the USC-MHS aims to provide information, training, resources, and pathways for these sports organizations to also help with the prevention and early intervention of mental health issues.
  2. We also recognize that sports participation, in any capacity, is not free of its own unique risk factors for experiencing mental health challenges. The USC-MHS provides training that educates about these risk factors and provides action plans to mitigate their negative effects while also enhancing the mental health support and protective factors that are present in sport.

Mission Pursuit Strategies

In order to fulfill our mission, our current endeavors involve four primary initiatives.

  1. Provide mental health awareness training to coaches, athletes, parents, administrators, officials and any others involved in sport.
  2. Provide counseling and therapy services to sport families and participants and ensure there are clear pathways to additional mental health support.
  3. Develop content and resources related to mental health that can be accessed by the sport community.
  4. Promote continued research on mental health and sport through an established group of research fellows.

Additional articles providing more specific information on each of these strategies are coming soon.

Can I Get Involved?

The USC-MHS website contains an updated list of opportunities that individuals who are interested should refer to if they want to become involved ( We are also always grateful for donations to support our cause, help save lives by reducing suicide rates, and allow all sport participants to reach their optimum mental wellness.  (

"It is OK not to be OK." 

EVERYONE has mental health. We should never be ashamed to START THE CONVERSATION. Let's end the STIGMA in sport environments. At the U.S. Center for Mental Health & Sport, we are continually looking for more ways to support individuals' mental health regardless of where they currently fall on the mental health continuum. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS!

Official Mental Health & Wellness Partner of:

American Youth Soccer OrganizationNebraska State Soccer Logo
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