Kelli Gast

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Jared Schlenker


There is an alarming rate of mental health concerns among today’s youth. Similar trends also show increased anxiety and stress in youth sports. This dissertation examined the impact of a youth sports mental health app called M3Moorhead, which targets mental health and sports psychology education tools and connections for mental health support. Additionally, this study aimed to understand why youth athletes were motivated to download the app, what parts of the app were most helpful, and what motivated the youth athletes to engage in the app. The data for this study was collected through an online survey with the parents or guardians of youth athletes affiliated with the Moorhead Youth Hockey Association. This association has partnered with a non-profit mental health organization called m3 for the past couple of years. This dissertation demonstrated that out of the 57 respondents who participated, almost half had not heard of the m3 app, which suggests that poor awareness, rather than app content, is responsible for the lack of engagement in the app. The themes included in the study showed that parents or caregivers wanted their youth athletes to have access to sports psychology tools and find many of the content modules helpful. There was less desire for the part of the app that provided youth with immediate mental health support, even though the community has been impacted by youth suicide. The findings indicate that education and awareness on the m3 app must be refocused and prioritized to learn more about what is working in the m3 app. Lastly, future implications around increasing engagement in the app, including interactive videos and game-like features, are discussed as critical next steps.