Going, Going, Gone: Mental Health and Athletes

Trinity Grimord, Social Media Manager

This blog post is apart of Healthy Mind, Happy Life.

October 10th was World Mental Health Day, a day to educate yourself and others about mental health, raise awareness, and be an advocate and voice for mental health. There is a huge stigma that surrounds mental health that makes people scared to speak about it. This harmful stigma makes it hard for people to speak up and ask for help, and stigma can be especially hard on athletes.  

Trinity Grimord

Athletes are looked up to by friends, family, and strangers. They are perceived as strong, capable, and dedicated – a little bit of a mental battle couldn’t hurt them or bring them down. That is not the case.  

When talking about mental health, BVU Women’s Soccer player Tobi Birch said,“if you are not mentally healthy you won’t be physically healthy. I think being an athlete is good and bad. Athletics gives you a distraction and can be an escape. But it can also have stressors that create limited time for other things.” When asked if she was comfortable sharing how athletics played a role on her mental health, she added, “Last year was bad on my mental health because of everything with the soccer team, I had to step away from a leadership role because I needed time for myself and I needed a break from people always coming to me about negatives. I took the team’s stress on me.” 

She added “it is important to take time to reflect on all aspects of life, it is important to know what you are doing right and wrong. It doesn’t matter how much people tell you what you are doing right unless you can keep yourself accountable.” 

Track & Field Multi-Athlete , Max Powers, was also available for comment on the role of mental health on athletes, stating, “I think COVID really raised awareness about mental health, it’s not perfect but it is getting better.” 

He continued, “Mental health takes a big role on athletes because how you perform as an athlete is a mind game.” He said that COVID helped him recognize that sometimes he bites off more than he can handle. “At some point there was a burnout with me, I lost a lot of motivation and did not practice as well. With me trying new events it developed a new love for the sport and a new motivation I was lacking.”  

Understand mental health is different for everyone. Everyone is affected by it one way or another. Athletics can be a good way to cope with what you are feeling but sometimes it can be too much. 

Trinity Grimord

What you say matters. Your words matter, good and bad. You do not know what the person sitting next to you is going through, so be kind. Lend a helping hand when you can. Remember, you are not alone. There are resources on campus, off-campus, and online that are available to you. 

Click here to read a story from a former BVU athlete on the Healthy Mind, Happy Life blog.