Professional Athletes Also Suffer from Mental Health Condition
Estimates in the US show that 1 in 5 people will experience some type of mental health condition. And that includes pro-athletes. As a result, professional athletes and sports organizations have started to focus on athletes’ mental health, as mental health care has been identified as an important focus and tool for training and developing athletes.
We often think of athletes as being physically fit and invincible, but the reality is that they are just as susceptible to mental health issues as anyone else. Many athletes struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, or stress, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including the pressure to perform, injuries, and the intense competition.
Many athletes are starting to speak out about the impact of mental health, including Giannis Antetokounmpo, professional basketball player and Antidote Health brand ambassador. He spoke candidly to Revolt TV about getting help from a mental health professional:
“I was talking with a sports psychiatrist every day, he helped me be myself”
In the same interview, he highlights the pressure that comes with being a professional athlete:
“The free throws were a mental issue and I want to continue like this in the next season.“
Giannis, in speaking with GQ, admits that getting help isn’t easy for many professional athletes because of the stigma associated with Mental Health: “People that talk to the sports psychiatrists and stuff like that, they label us ‘soft.’… That’s why it’s hard for people to talk to somebody and open up. Even for me, it was extremely tough.”
Mental health affects athletes at all stages of their careers. Around 1 in 3 college athletes experience anxiety while only 1 out of 10 will go seek treatment. Athletes in other transitional periods, such as retirement, have also reported experiencing depression or anxiety.
Athletes are becoming more open about Mental Health Care
It's important for teams, organizations, and the league to provide mental health resources for their athletes. This can include counseling services, support groups, and other resources that can help athletes manage their mental health.
During a recent Buck’s media day Giannis shared how he takes care of his mental health by taking a break to relax and spend time with his family: “...being able to take a break, not only physically but mentally. Just kind of go away from the game, spend some time with your family and do what you love, and like just sit on the couch, eat Doritos and you know, be a couch potato. Like, you need that in order to be great.”
Being aware of and taking care of one’s mental health should be a priority for everyone and that includes professional athletes. It's important for athletes to talk openly about their mental health and to seek help if they need it. In the past, there may have been a stigma attached to seeking help for mental health issues, but we are seeing this starting to change. Just like Giannis, more and more athletes are speaking out about their struggles with mental health in an effort to break the stigma.
Treatment options for Mental Health
There are several different treatment options available, and the right one will depend on the individual's specific needs and circumstances:
- Therapy (in person or virtually): Talking to a therapist or counselor can help individuals to better understand their condition, and to learn coping strategies for dealing with the symptoms. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors, as well as other forms of psychotherapy.
- Medication: One of the most common treatments for depression is medication. Antidepressant medications work by altering the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, which can help to alleviate symptoms of depression. These medications can be effective for many people, but they can also have side effects, and it may take some time to find the right medication and dosage.
- Mindfulness-based practices, such as meditation or yoga, which can help to reduce stress and improve emotional regulation.
- Support groups, which can provide a sense of community and understanding for those who are struggling with depression.
The benefits of Telemedicine on Mental Health Care
Telemedicine, or access to medical care remotely, has become increasingly popular in recent years. This has been especially true in the field of mental health care, where telemedicine has the potential to provide many benefits for patients.
The benefits of telemedicine in Mental Health include:
Increased Access To Care
For many people, accessing mental health services can be difficult due to a variety of barriers. These can include a lack of providers in their area, long wait times for appointments, and transportation issues. With telemedicine, patients can receive care from the comfort of their own home, without needing to travel to a clinic or hospital.
Traditional in-person appointments can be difficult to schedule and attend, particularly for people with busy schedules, while traveling or when managing other responsibilities. With telemedicine, patients can schedule appointments at times that are convenient for them, and can participate in therapy sessions from wherever they are (at home or on the road). This can make it easier for people to stick to their treatment plan, which can lead to better outcomes.
Continuity of Mental Health Care
Telemedicine also allows for continuity of care. In traditional in-person therapy, a patient may have to change providers due to a move or other reason. With telemedicine, patients can continue to see the same provider, regardless of their location.
More Affordable Mental Health Care
Traditional in-person mental health care can be costly, due to the cost of the visit, transportation and other expenses. With telemedicine, many of these costs are eliminated, which can make mental health care more affordable for many people.
Greater Privacy And Confidentiality
Traditional in-person therapy sessions can be stigmatizing for some patients, as they may not want others to know that they are seeking mental health care. With telemedicine, patients can participate in therapy sessions from the privacy of their own home, which can reduce the risk of stigmatization.
Antidote Partners with Giannis for Affordable Health Care
Antidote Health has partnered with Giannis Antetokounmpo to bring affordable health care to all. Together, we are on a mission to leave no one behind.
Antidote Health offers Mental Health Services, in addition to primary/urgent care, diabetes and hypertension care.
Giannis personally relates to this mission and is championing Antidote Health’s efforts: as a child, he didn’t have access to affordable healthcare. He understands and empathizes with those who struggle against barriers to reach their true potential. Read more about the Antidote Health and Giannis Antetokounmpo here.
If you or someone you know is in need of Mental Health Care services, you can find more information about how Antidote Health can help here.