Little League® Baseball and Softball is focused on providing children and families with fun and memorable experiences in communities all around the world each year. Unfortunately, however, those same children, as well as their parents and coaches, may also face traumatic experiences within their community that will leave an impact on their lives forever.
As a Little League parent, volunteer, or supporter, it is important to know how crucial your role is in how these children navigate these experiences, no matter how difficult it may be. Whether you realize it or not, you have become a role model for today’s Little Leaguers®, and it is important to know that there are resources available to you to help navigate both the children in your league, and yourself, through a traumatic experience.
“No child should ever have to endure such a horrific and tragic experience, however, too many times, our Little Leaguers are faced with unprecedented adversity in their lives,” said Dr. Kensa Gunter, Clinical and Sport Psychologist and Emotional Wellness Advocate. “As members of the Little League organization, it is important for us to serve as role models and to be a source of support and information for the children in our communities, especially in times of great need. We also need to be mindful of taking care of ourselves, so I encourage all Little League parents, caretakers, and volunteers to utilize these resources in order to help protect the mental and emotional wellbeing of our players, children, friends, and ourselves as we continue to navigate the challenges and realities of life.”
Here are some helpful resources suggested by Dr. Gunter, who is a member of the Little League International Board of Directors:
- Helping Children Cope with Frightening News
- Coping After a Disaster
- Dealing with Trauma
- Emotional and Psychological Trauma
- Stress Effects on the Body
- Coping in the Aftermath of a Shooting
Often times, we have seen that Little League has become the first place that communities turn after facing tragedy, whether it be in the face of a traumatic shooting or bouncing back after a devastating natural disaster, and it’s because of the parents and volunteers in our programs that a positive experience can be possible.
At the core of the Little League program, the safety and well-being of all its participants remains paramount, including the mental health of every child, parent, and volunteer who makes this organization possible each year. Whether in the face of tragic circumstances, or in the everyday challenges from the game of baseball and softball, we should always remain focus on the mental health and well-being of our participants and encourage everyone to check out the resources available at LittleLeague.org/MentalHealth.