Mental health is vital for professional athletes because even though they are exceptionally successful and public facing professionals that appear to the public to be living a dream life; they are a human being first. Despite their incredible level of performance and success, they are subject to human emotions and life struggles.
Elite or professional athletes are placed in a unique and revered position in society that creates tremendous amount of personal and professional pressure and demand. Being in the spotlight creates adoration and idealization from fans that requires that elite athletes maintain a public image of superior human mastery, performance and oftentimes perfection. They have been trained to be competitive, not show weakness and win at all costs. This mindset is prominent on the field and can also translate to other aspects of their life. Being in a competitive environment, not surrounded by others who may have their best interest at heart and human struggles emphasize the importance of mental health.
As a result of their unique career and public pressures, elite athletes are predisposed to a unique vulnerability to mental health struggles. As a result, professional athletes may not disclose their personal struggles due to stigma, distrust or maintaining an image of remarkable mental and physical strength and immunity to problems. This can be incredibly silencing and isolating for such individuals.
Despite these challenges, elite athletes can improve their mental and emotional health and overall wellness. Some of the advantages that professional athletes have in improving their mental wellness is their discipline, dedication, work ethic, commitment and collaborative team mindset. Partnering with a licensed mental health professional that is a good fit can assist individuals to develop a plan to improve their overall wellness with specific strategies that are tailored uniquely to each individual. Training the mind is parallel to training the body. It takes consistent effort and dedication. Regardless of whether professional athletes are playing on the field, winding down their career or retired, they can benefit from the support of mental and emotional wellness. Fortunately, we are coachable our entire lives and personal growth is a life-long process in which we benefit from professional support.