By Bailey Miller
Spring Break has come to an end, and everyone is back to their regularly scheduled programs involving classes, homework, sports, etc. All of us deserve a break at times because of the constant stressors of our everyday lives as college students, and some have the added commitment of being collegiate athletes.
Personally, I have seen how hard it can be when you do not feel like you can catch a break in life. Not only myself, but friends and family of mine have dealt with anxiety and depression due to the stress of life.
Being a college athlete has been an honor. I have played alongside my best friends and have been mentored by amazing coaches. Through my experience, I have noticed a major trend in my teammates and other college athletes here at Wilson; many athletes have dealt with mental health issues.
I have learned that mental illness is something that a lot of people I know endure, while I thought I was going through it alone. The pressures of school, sports, and life in general can be hard to manage and it can send someone into a downward spiral very quickly if left unmanaged.
Everyone does stretches and workouts to help reduce injuries in sports, but handling mental illness is rarely talked about in athletics. It is impossible to give 110% on the field when you do not feel even close to 110% in your mind.
I think not many people bring much awareness to mental health as they do physical health because it is easy to wrap an ankle and tell yourself to get back on the field. Mental health, on the other hand, is not an easy topic to broach.
This topic should be discussed just as much as physical health. On March 2, 2022, Katie Meyer, who was a goalkeeper for the Stanford Women’s soccer team, was found dead in her dorm room with self-inflicted wounds. She committed suicide at 22 years old. She was a captain and star on her team as they had previously won the 2019 NCAA tournament.
This is one of many heart-breaking stories that deal with mental illness in college athletes. Mental health is a serious issue and should be treated as such. Just because mental illness is not visible at times, does not mean that it is not hurting someone.
If there is any takeaway you can gain from this, it is that you are not alone. If you are dealing with mental health issues, speak to a trusted adult or friend and find the help that you need.
To start counseling, email firstname.lastname@example.org and request to start services free of charge.