Mental Health and Athletes

Inside the Numbers of the Silent Epidemic

I decided to focus my topic of discussion this week on mental health, specifically in athletes. I am passionate about this topic because I have seen both the positive and negative effects of competitive sports on athletes first hand. I have seen close friends and teammates struggle with the pressures of competition, academics, and personal life experiences and I’ve seen these effects on my own life as well.

Mental health in general is a topic that people don’t talk about often. In the athletic community, it hasn’t always been taken seriously because of the negative stigma that surrounds it. In recent years however, people have been more accepting, more open, and more understanding to the seriousness of mental health problems in athletes.

This first post is set out to show just how prevalent mental illnesses are.

Here are some eye opening statistics.

Approximately 46.6. million adults in the US face mental illness.

33% of all college athletes experience significant symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions.

Only 10% of those college athletes with mental health conditions seek help.

35% of elite (pro) athletes suffer from mental health illnesses.

Student-athletes are less likely to seek out professional help than non-athletes.

Student athletes are at greater risk to experience mental health problems such as substance abuse and social anxiety compared to non student athletes.

In the past, maybe we didn’t share about how we felt, but with recent initiatives that have valiantly been trying to end the stigma, we can finally talk about our mental health.

One campaign that comes to mind when I think about mental health initiatives is Bell Let’s Talk.

In just a 15 second video, Canadian telecommunications company, Bell, opens up communication about mental health, as well as promotes awareness and understanding.

Each year on Bell Let’s Talk Day, with every view of their video, Bell donates 5 cents to Canadian Mental Health Initiatives. Although the views help Canadian initiatives, their message of promoting awareness and ending the stigma is being seen all across North America which is what truly matters.

This Bell Let’s Talk day (January 29) Bell received 154,387,425 interactions, bringing their donation this year to $7,719,371.25.

If you do the math, that’s over 15 million views on the video!

With just a few seconds, Bell was able to promote awareness and raise financial support for mental health across North America.

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