Depression : Athletes and Mental Health Problems

A leading New Zealand sports pyschologist says mental health problems among professional athletes are "a great untapped well" and sports leaders say more should be done to protect young athletes.

Psychologist Karen Nimmo said 20 of New Zealand's fewer than 100 professional cricketers had sought help from the sport's mental health support program, placing the service under pressure.

The head of New Zealand's Cricket Players' Association, Heath Mills, said more funding was needed as players dealt with issues which "range from depression, anxiety and panic attacks to low self-esteem and self-worth."

A survey by the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association found 35 percent of recently-retired players suffer "feelings of despair or depression."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.