Not true, of course. Like many sterotypes tend to be, my presumptions have been based on common media depictions of athletes I’ve seen over the years – mainly the occasional news segment, or tuning in to Super Bowl with the sound off, to look out for interesting commercials. I’m not a sports fan and don’t actually know any athletes.
An article by the OCD Center of Los Angeles points out, “athletes, even those at the top of their professions, are just people, and are subject to the same mental health issues as everyone else.”
The article gives brief descriptions of social anxiety, panic, phobias and other anxieties suffered by Ricky Williams, Earl Campbell, John Madden, David Beckham, and Clint Malarchuk – people who are “performing at the highest levels of their profession, who experience increased stress and anxiety.”
See more in the article: Athletes With Anxiety
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is a good reminder to look at stereotypes around mental health and who is affected. Pretty much everyone, in some way.
As part of their programming, the Discovery Channel has a series titled Psych Week beginning May 2. This is from their site:
Olympic gold medalist swimmer Michael Phelps has risen to stardom at a fairly young age,and Deborah Phelps, Michael’s mother, said she wanted to share Michael’s story and his struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Diagnosed when he was 9 years old, Phelps had trouble concentrating in school, his mother said, but personally prescribed medication and swimming helped Phelps manage the disorder.
The image of Phelps is from the article Drugs, alcohol, athletes – Henry Rono and Michael Phelps.
Also see my selected articles on ADD – ADHD.