Mental health is a global issue. As it does in other facets of life, mental health is also stigmatized in the sports world. You may have seen several medical personnel aiding an injured athlete in the field within seconds. However, the same does not happen when it comes to mental disorders. Although mental illness exists at every level of sports, an athlete with psychological issues is often abandoned. All this happens because sports provide an excellent masking agent that hides mental illness. If you are an outstanding athlete, you will always be desperate to reach the next level, and this will make you less likely to seek help. The “winner” mentality is the primary barrier. Read on to discover about the stigma of mental health in sports.
- Challenges. Mental disorder in sports is more challenging to discuss compared to physical injuries. Most athletes still view it as a weakness. Seeking help is often seen as a sign of weakness in a community where coaches push for mental toughness. As such, an athlete with psychological issues believes that nothing can go wrong or that they can overcome their problems. Others believe that their condition may force the management to drop them off the team. For that alone, such athletes will not go for therapy or take any medication. The sports world needs to change this culture by providing someone that the players can trust. This person should not disclose their issues to their team and teammates.
- Prevalence. There is a gender difference when it comes to person prevalence of mental health in sports. Compared to men, women are more likely to report a mental health issue. Depression is about two times more prevalent in women. Autism is more prevent to men than women. However, research suggests that women can camouflage their autism. Men also have a higher rate of alcohol and substance dependence. Evidence shows that women make up the highest percentage of hospital admissions for intentional self-harm. Women also have a high rate of suicide ideation. However, men are more likely to commit suicide.
- Help-seeking Behavior. Most people in the sports world find it challenging to discuss mental health and find the exact method needed to fix the problem. Mental illness is not like looking at an X-ray of a broken leg and identifying how to re-join the fractured part. While it is difficult to get treatment, eliminating stigma is the first step to encourage athletes to seek help. Coaches can allow their players to share their personal stories of struggles. In such a way, athletes can relate and understand their problems. Coaches should also encourage their players to seek help from professionals such as Well Beings Clinic.
Even though progress is slow, the stigma of mental health in sports is lessening. The more significant problem is probably rooted in the sports’ beliefs of mental toughness, emotional fortitude, and self-resourcefulness. All these make it challenging to accept mental disorders as a problem. By changing this line of thinking, we may conquer the stigma of mental health in sports.