Noblesville practice providing mental health services for NFL players
Noblesville-based JRNY Counseling is partnering with Hall of Fame Health to provide mental health services to former professional football players and their families. HOFH is the healthcare initiative affiliated with the Pro Football Hall of Fame that was established in 2020. The mental wellness practice is one of two in the Indianapolis area to participate in the initiative, which was created as more football players opened up about their mental health struggles.
Co-owner Melanie Short told Business of Health Reporter Kylie Veleta while the partnership isn’t limited to athletes, it helps encourage athletes who otherwise might be hesitant to ask for help.
“We start really early in athletics now; there’s a ton of pressure already from very young ages,” Short said. “And we definitely want to be of service to anybody who needs it in our very own community. We’re teachers and coaches and parents, and everybody kind of needs guidance because we don’t really get told what would be most beneficial for our mental health or for our kids mental health when it comes to athletics.”
The mission of HOFH is to connect former players and family members with mental health services in cities with NFL teams.
Short said the HOFH reached out to JRNY Counseling after several recommendations from peers.
“I think that the reason that we could be somebody that they could target [is] there’s not a ton of people who treat substance use disorders in private practice,” she said. “And I think some of the people who recommended us are in that field as well. And they’ve just worked with us before. We work with a lot of organizations around the community that have maybe stepped out of residential treatment that come to us.”
Short said professional athletes are part of a population that tends to get overlooked when it comes to mental health.
“People look at athletes as, ‘Oh, if they’re performing well, they must be doing well. They must be just doing fine everywhere,'” she said. “We forget that when we see a college player or professional player, that they have a life as well, and there’s all the normal things that all of us experience [such as] losses, relationship troubles, job stress; all that’s there, too. They also just get a spotlight on them in front of all of us, so that if anything goes awry, then it’s like this huge, big deal. Whereas the rest of us can kind of like struggle in anonymity a little bit.”
Improving mental health among athletes, Short said, could also lead to physical benefits.
“It impacts our immune system, our nervous system, all those things, and so we can’t maintain even physical wellness if our mental health is struggling. We can’t be optimal. Addressing mental health as a primary thing for anybody starting out that way and just setting somebody for mental wellness impacts our physical health really positively, too. It really would lead to better performance athletically.”
JRNY Counseling was founded in June 2017 and employs 11 therapists in Noblesville. The practice provides individual and group therapy focusing on substance use disorder, trauma, anxiety, depression and other issues.
The practice, which moved into a larger space last March, has an additional focus of integrative, holistic services such as healing breath work classes, yoga and massage therapy, among others.
Short said the HOFH partnership will provide greater exposure for her practice and access to more people who may not have known the practice exists.
The second Indiana practice partnering with Hall of Fame Health is Hickory House Recovery Center in Greenfield.