LMU School of Education Professor William Parham has been appointed to the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s newly formed Mental Health Task Force.
The 13-member force is charged with developing best practices, resources and action plans to support the mental health needs of Team USA athletes – before, during and after competition – and advising USOPC staff members who engage with athletes on and off the field of play.
“We are acutely aware of the mental health concerns facing our athletes – heightened by the current environment in the Olympic and Paralympic community – and are fully dedicated to being an active leader in providing support and resources to help athletes navigate the pressures, and at times, uncertainty, of their careers,” said Dr. Jonathan Finnoff, USOPC chief medical officer. “The goal of the task force is to ensure athletes, and the staff who are entrusted with their care, are well-informed and prepared to recognize and respond to individuals in need, both before and once mental health concerns arise.”
Parham, a professor of counseling and interim associate dean of faculty in LMU’s School of Education, specializes in the interplay between sport psychology, multiculturalism/diversity, trauma and health psychology. He also serves as inaugural director of the mental health and wellness program for the National Basketball Players Association, and for most of his professional career has focused on working with athletes across organizations and sports, as well as performance artists in drama, theatre and music.
He is a licensed psychologist, board certified in counseling psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology, and past-president of the Society of Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association.
In his latest appointment, Parham joins a task force of U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, coaches, medical and mental health professionals. The group was organized in February 2020.
Members will be responsible for advising and collaborating with an internal USOPC mental health working group to ensure the appropriate structures and systems are in place to promote a culture in which seeking and delivering mental health support is encouraged throughout the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic community.