The Medical and Scientific Commission of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recognised the important role that mental health plays in the well-being of elite athletes.
As part of its commitment to supporting the health and performance of athletes and to the continuing professional development of those who care for them, the IOC Medical and Scientific Commission offers a program on Mental Health in Elite Sport. The program embraces a broadly-based curriculum delivered by an outstanding international faculty. This program is distinct from the International Olympic Committee Diploma Program on Mental Health in Elite Sport, which is a more comprehensive program designed for physicians and licensed practitioners who are qualified to provide mental health services.
The program will focus on salient aspects of mental health in elite sport. Sport participation brings many physical and mental health benefits, but athletes in elite sport may suffer from mental health symptoms and disorders at rates similar to or exceeding those of the general population. Mental health symptoms and disorders in athletes may be compounded by sport-specific stressors and environmental factors, including: psychological, physical or sexual abuse; injury; barriers to mental health help-seeking because of public and self-stigma; lack of mental health literacy; cultural issues; an environment that does not support mental wellness; and transition out of sport. Management of mental health symptoms and disorders in athletes includes lifestyle and environmental modifications such as optimization of social supports and coach/stakeholder education; psychoeducation; psychotherapy; and pharmacologic treatment when warranted. Untreated mental health symptoms and disorders in elite sport impair health and quality of life and diminish sport performance. This Certificate Program covers topics related to epidemiology of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite sport; general approaches to management of mental health symptoms and disorders in elite sport; specific mental health symptoms and disorders in elite sport; major stressors and key environmental factors that influence athlete mental health; and special considerations in different populations of athletes.
The program is operated on behalf of the IOC by sportsoracle ltd. The program takes advantage of new technologies to deliver an innovative program and to ensure that information is current, comprehensive, authoritative and accessible.
The program operates under the academic oversight of the Program Directors and an international Academic Advisory Board, who advise on and are responsible for all aspects of academic standards in this program, including:
- Quality assurance of syllabus content
- Moderation of student assessment
The IOC Certificate of Completion on Mental Health in Elite Sport is awarded by the International Olympic Committee.