Check out this interesting article that describes research from the University of Michigan on athletes’ mental health.
This is a hot topic in the collegiate landscape but there is a stigma that still surrounds this topic. A great point in the article refers to high level athletes as perfectionists. You have been practicing your craft for so many years and feel a sense of belonging as a master of your sport. But the danger is that the ownership you feel of your athletic gift becomes your identity. In turn, when you are no longer competing it leaves a void in personal identity. Because of this you have to treat your mental health the same as you would your physical health.
“It’s not that you have a mental illness or not; it’s that you have a continuum of mental health, with one side being very high-functioning, peak performance, and the other is a severe clinical issue I’ve been at both ends of that continuum, so we want to meet anybody where they are.” ~ Will Heininger, former Michigan football player
Find Your Outlet!
Without your sport identity, the truth is you are still a human with a human identity! But don’t be afraid to talk to someone to find out what that is. Don’t let the stigma surrounding mental health hinder your ability to work on your mental health.
“Athletes Connected research found only about one-third of college students suffering from mental illness seek help. When it comes to student-athletes who are suffering, though, that number drops to one in 10.”
The Mid-American Conference has aided in this conversation.
You don’t have to do it on your own. You’ve had a coach in all aspects of your sporting life: a weight coach, technical coach, nutrition coach. Why should your mental health be any different?