Changing Perspectives on Mental Health
Mental Health in Sport
One in four people in the UK will be affected by mental illness in any year, with the most common being anxiety and depression, therefore it comes as no surprise that sportspeople and professionals face these issues too.
If you’re an athlete there’s a good chance you have been to some dark places based on external pressures and high expectations of others. Not knowing who to talk to can be a lonely place. Family and friends can offer support, but sometimes, unless you’ve been through it or going through the same thing, it’s very hard for them to understand and to truly “get it”. This can hinder progression, development, confidence, focus and performance.
When you deal with low self-esteem as an athlete, there is a greater risk that you will suffer from depression, anxiety, social anxiety, and negative physical symptoms, all of which may impede performance.
It may not only be an athlete’s ideas and self-expectations that are causing their depression, anxiety, or negative thoughts to occur — but it can also stem from expectations that are set by coaches, teammates, family or even fans. The high expectations and requirements that are set upon sporting professionals is immense and overwhelming if you don’t have the tools and strong mindset to rely upon, it can easily become overwhelming and therefore impact your mental health and a great rate.
The more that high profile sportspeople speak out about their own struggles with mental health, the more accepting it will become and other athletes will seek the help they need without suffering in silence due to the stigma that attaches itself to mental health and not wanting to speak up. You’re not born with a strong mindset. However, you can learn and practice it.