Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Midshipmen Development Center

Coaches Guide for Midshipmen in Distress

MIDN must navigate many changes and challenges during their time at USNA. It is not uncommon for students to struggle with academic, social, and financial stress; physical or mental health concerns; adverse experiences; and other challenges to their well-being and academic standing. Early identification and prompt referral of students in distress is crucial. As a coach or trainer, you play a significant role in the physical and psychological well being of your athletes and are often the first to sense that one of your athletes is struggling emotionally. Please take advantage of the following resources so that you can know how to prevent problems in your athletes before they happen, identify them when they do happen, and how to intervene and refer when necessary.

Keys to success:

-Understand your role as a coach in MIDNs’ success

-Recognize MIDN who need help

-Respond supportively and safely

-Refer MIDN to relevant resources

-Report as required

What is my role in helping a MIDN in distress?

You are not responsible for assessing or treating health or behavioral issues. Nevertheless, your ability to recognize signs of serious distress, acknowledge your concerns directly and nonjudgmentally, and make an informed referral can play a significant role in helping MIDN resolve their difficulties.

Suggested First Team Meeting Language

“During this semester you might experience health challenges (i.e. sickness, injury, depression, anxiety). I encourage you to contact me as soon these challenges become apparent so that we proactively work together to connect you with care and help support your education. And note, mental health is much like physical health; it is nothing to be ashamed of, treatment helps, and discussing it with someone can lead to better health.”

Warning Signs in a MIDN

  • Serious grade problems or changes in performance
  • Unusual patterns of interactions, i.e.; avoidance, domination of discussions, etc.
  • Trouble managing stress including: depressed mood, rapid speech, change in personality and hygiene, falling asleep during class
  • Repeated requests for special consideration
  • Obvious disproportionate emotional responses to the situation

Resources on the Yard

Sexual Assault-

At present, Naval Academy coaches, trainers, and other staff (military and civilian) are not considered mandatory reporters of sexual misconduct. Please contact the USNA SAPR office if you have any questions about responding to a student who discloses sexual assault to you and about your reporting status.

For more information, please visit USNA SAPR Office in Dahlgren Hall or their website at The USNA 24-Hour Response Line is 443-336-2637

Academic Concerns-

The CAE offers tutoring and other academic support such as the Writing Center, Supplemental Instruction courses, MGSP, and exam reviews for core courses.

For more information, visit the CAE’s website or call 410-293-1100.


The Naval Academy’s Command Managed Equal Opportunity (CMEO) staff exists to promote positive command morale and quality of life by providing an environment in which all personnel can perform to their maximum ability, unimpeded by institutional or individual biases based on race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender or religious stereotypes.

The current CMEO staff contacts are listed on their website,

Peer Advisors-

Peer Advisors are MIDN representatives within each company who are familiar with issues related to resilience and psychological health, and who can aid other MIDN in getting whatever help they need. They are trained by the MDC to serve as an extra set of “eyes and ears” within the company.

How Urgent is the Problem?


Dial 911 or call USNA Base Security at 410-293-3333 if a MIDN is seriously injured, incoherent, or delusional, violent, threatening others verbally or physically, or voicing overt suicidal plans or threats. Do not leave a suicidal person alone.


BMU can be reached at 410-293-1758/1760 and is open Monday-Friday 0630-1800 with sick call from 0630-0800 & 1500-1800, and Saturday-Sunday, and Holidays sick call from 0700-0900. If it is after hours, the Duty Doctor can be reached at 410-293-2273.

Moderate Distress-

If you observe behaviors that strongly suggest that something is wrong, refer the student to the MDC or a Chaplain. In case the concern for a student whose behavior does not suggest the potential for harm to self or others, you may be able to help prevent a situation from escalating simply by expressing your concern.

Other Useful Resources:


Please contact the MDC at (x4789) or email for any questions or concerns that you may have.

Follow the Midshipmen
Development Center:

The appearance of external hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the U.S. Navy of non-U.S. Government sites
or the information, products, or services contained therein.
go to Top