When athletes share their battles with mental illness

ROUGHLY ONE IN FIVE AMERICAN ADULTS SUFFER FROM MENTAL ILLNESSES. ATHLETES MIGHT BE MORE AT RISK. HERE, EIGHT OF THEM TELL THEIR AUTHENTIC STORIES.

Michael Phelps locked himself in his bedroom for four days three years ago. He’d been arrested a second time for DUI. He was despondent and adrift. He thought about suicide.

“I didn’t want to be alive,” he tells USA TODAY Sports. “I didn’t want to see anyone else. I didn’t want to see another day.”

Family and friends — “a life-saving support group,” Phelps calls them — urged him to seek professional help. He got it. And now he wants others who are suffering from mental health issues to find the help they need.  more

When athletes share their battles with mental illness

Michael Phelps locked himself in his bedroom for four days three years ago. He’d been arrested a second time for DUI. He was despondent and adrift. He thought about suicide.

“I didn’t want to be alive,” he tells USA TODAY Sports. “I didn’t want to see anyone else. I didn’t want to see another day.”

Family and friends — “a life-saving support group,” Phelps calls them — urged him to seek professional help. He got it. And now he wants others who are suffering from mental health issues to find the help they need.  more

Are Doctors, Teens and Coaches Inadvertently Turning Teen Athletes into Addicts?

The discussion began a few years ago, when facts about concussions began to emerge: Do coaches, parents and even some doctors go too far in pushing teen athletes to be all that they can be?

After much reflection, the answer has turned out to be: “Sometimes, yes.”

But now the problem is even worse than allowing (or encouraging) some child athletes to keep playing when they have a concussion. Some of those people who are supposed to be watching over them are pushing them so hard, they are turning them into heroin addicts.  more

U.S. Athletes Need Better Mental Health Care

An interesting footnote to the recent NBA playoff matchup between the Toronto Raptors and the Cleveland Cavaliers was that the series featured two players who have unintentionally emerged as mental health ambassadors for the league. It began during All-Star weekend in February, when Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan elicited widespread media attention for a cryptic seven-word tweet about his depression. Inspired by the candidness of his fellow hooper, Cleveland’s Kevin Love subsequently published a personal essay on the Player’s Tribune about suffering a mid-game panic attack. The article went viral, and Love received thousands of emails in response. The NBA, perhaps feeling the pressure to issue a response of its own, recently announced that it would be creating a new position for a director of mental health and wellness. The recent focus on psychological well-being feels like a welcome change of tack for the league.

One might wonder, however, why it’s still a big deal when two professional basketball players open up about an issue that affects millions of people in a country reputed to have the highest rate of antidepressant use in the world. Mental illness, it seems, is ubiquitous in America. But among the nation’s sporting elite, the subject still feels like a repressed secret.  more