Physical health helps improve girls’ mental health.
How it works
Reducing symptoms of depression and trauma
A study from Translational Psychiatry found that one-third of teen girls experience an episode of depression. That's almost three times the rate of boys .The occurrence of anxiety-related disorders in teennagers has also risen in the last decade, particularly in girls.  “In results from the National Survey of Drug Use and Health between 2009 and 2014, 36.1 percent of girls reported depression, compared to 13.6 percent of boys who had their first onset of depression.”  However, participation in sports and regular physical activity are linked to decreased stress and depression, since exercise naturally lifts moods. 
As part of a team, girls make friends who will support each other on and off the field. As a result, girls are less likely to feel lonely or bored.
Girls who have experienced trauma may also find opportunities for recovery in team sports. Sports may provide an important structure and a place to connect with mentors and friends and a safe space that allows girls to escape the struggles they face in everyday life. 
Increasing self-esteem and self-confidence
As girls move from elementary school to high school, their self-esteem levels drop at a rate three times that of boys. 
Only 29% of high school girls reported being “happy the way [they are]” 
A study conducted by the Melpomene Institute found that “a girl’s low self-esteem does not disappear with maturity. Girls with low self-esteem often grow to be women with low self-esteem. Low levels of self-esteem are linked to increased rates of depression, substance abuse, suicide, and eating disorders in both adolescents and adults.” 
Coaches can influence how girls cultivate self confidence, high self esteem and healthy body image. Sports also help girls understand their own ownership of their bodies. 
Lowering the risk of suicide
Teenage girls who participate in sports are less likely to consider, plan, or attempt suicide than girls who are not athletes.