Mental health has long been considered a stigma for the human race.
Despite technological and other advancements, society has not been able to come out of certain misconceptions around the crucial subject. Currently, times are contemporary and speaking out loud about mental health is highly recommended. However, the irony is that most people are still not comfortable in sharing their mental problems.
Decoding mental health
Mental health is the umbrella under which emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing falls. It implies how a person feels overall and how they handle stress. Therefore, keeping a check on mental health signifies taking care of how one feels. Having said that, it is of utmost importance to take care of mental well-being to stay happy and peaceful in life.
If a person has a mental illness like stress, anxiety, or depression, they will not feel and express the best version of themselves. The smallest of situations might make them anxious. For example, people with adverse mental health might go through paranoias, trust issues and panic attacks, to name a few.
Mental health problems have long been ignored due to a socially imbibed stigma but ignoring them any longer could be way too dangerous for society. The most significant disadvantage of the stigma is when people are judged for having anxiety and stress problems.
Thus, it becomes challenging to seek help. In addition, the age-long tradition of calling people weak who suffer depression, or any other mental disorder has taken a massive toll on society.
But there is a silver lining as we evolve as a more inclusive society. People who are recognised globally are finally speaking about mental health, which is essential for eliminating the unwanted stigma against mental health.
When sports icons open up for mental health, we must listen!
It takes courage to globally announce weak mental health as society puts a lot of pressure on sportspeople to be rough and tough. However, the era is evolving now. Ever since the pandemic began, it has become challenging to keep mentally sane, but 2021 brought a ray of sunshine.
This year, the lead was taken by leading Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka who shunned attending press conferences saying she gets “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the media.
Sports drive and unite people across countries. International sports events like the Olympics not only represent games, but they are also a geopolitical symbol. Recently a global discussion on mental health caught the limelight as the American artistic gymnast Simone Biles backed out from the competition at the Tokyo Olympics to savour her mental health.
After people started trolling her, she said on her Instagram, “For anyone saying I quit. I didn't quit; my mind & body are simply not in sync.” When international sportspeople take such affirmative steps on a global platform, it allows the conversation on mental health to strike up on all the platforms.
Following Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles, English cricketer Ben Stokes announced an indefinite break from cricket to “prioritise his mental well-being.”
England cricket teammates and other celebrities have acknowledged Stoke’s move and wished him better mental health.
Mental health - the need of the hour
The need of the hour is to acknowledge the importance of mental wellbeing on all platforms, especially in high competing fields like sports and films. However, irrespective of the profession, people should keep mental well-being on top priority.
The next step forward is to talk about mental health constructively and empathetically. The backlash that Biles faced following her drop out from the Olympics is disheartening. Society needs to come out of the shell of not accepting mental health as a significant health criterion.
Nonetheless, sports icons being upfront, speaking out loud for their mental well-being, are setting an example for other field professionals and the youth. They are sending a message that individuals should always prioritise mental well-being irrespective of anything else. Because if your mind is working fine, everything else will directly be fine.
Kalkine Media has also written on How is AI lifting mental well-being?
Image credits: © Netrun78 | Megapixl.com (top) and © Skypixel | Megapixl.com (below).
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