Athletes are beginning to be more open about their struggles with mental health issues.
Boxer, Adrien “the problem” Broner is having is no stranger to problems. Legal problems, problems in the ring–and recently what appears to be–mental health problems.
As talented as a fighter Broner is, we know more about his outside the ring antics than his accomplishments as a world-class boxer. AB was a world champion, in four different weight classes all before he reached the age of 26, which is a major achievement in the world of boxing.
But we are way more familiar with the drunken fight he had on the Vegas strip, or choking a waitress at a nightclub, his sexual battery charges, or him being shot at while in Cincinnati.
But of all his seemingly outrageous behaviors, the most troubling to me has been his public suicidal comments. To most people, these types of comments may seem like desperate attempts to garner attention from the public. But to me, his comments are indicative of a possible bout with a mental disorder.
I know, it might be my therapeutic bias suggesting that he is depressed. And it is virtually impossible to diagnose a person with a mental illness without them having done an in-person, comprehensive mental health evaluation.
However, in my experience as a therapist, I know that many of depression’s symptoms are more subtle than the average person knows. I talk about many of the unsung symptoms of depression in “Depression, the invisible illness.”
I may not be able to tell for sure whether Broner is depressed, but I do know that depressed people think about suicide. And depressed people tend to engage in self-destructive behavior. And I also know that people who aren’t dealing with some type of mental health issue don’t make comment’s about not “wanting to be here anymore” which I assume “being here” means being alive.
Broner isn’t the only star athlete to deal with mental health issues. Many athletes from other sports have publicly mentioned their battles with mental illnesses. NBA superstars Kevin Love and Demar DeRozan have talked candidly about their issues with mental health.
Athletes who openly talk about their mental health help elevate the conversation surrounding mental health which ultimately substantially increases mental awareness, as these athletes are role models for many, and have a huge platform reaching millions of fans.
At the end of the day, we must not dismiss cries for help from athletes just because there are rich, famous, and living out their dreams by playing the sport they love; they are still human–which means they are susceptible to mental illness just like the rest of us. -They need support just like anyone else battling with mental health issues.