Sports

Organisation’s Warning: The Mental Health Crisis Taking Over Professional Athletes

New statistics reveal the mental health issues faced by elite athletes.

Sydney Sixers wicketkeeper, Alyssa Healy, said: “I think [the pressure] is something that’s ever-present in every professional athlete’s life,

“A big part of it is performance anxiety, and that has a real impact on your everyday life when you’re stressing about your work 24/7.” She continued.

Social media subjects athletes to constant abuse and criticism, which can be damaging to their mental health.

“There are certain dangers about being on social media and copping abuse is definitely one of them; that doesn’t help anybody’s self-esteem or mental health.”

Women under 30 are the most vulnerable online, with over 75% of female athletes experiencing abuse.

While Healy is confident in here own ability to cope with online abuse, she believes others take it more seriously.

“We’ve had situations where we’re sitting down as a group, reading out some of the messages we’ve got, and while we laughed it off, not everyone will take it as a joke.”

Three out of Four suicides in Australia are male, with six men committing suicide a day, yet Healy believed speaking out is one way to reduce these numbers.

“I think high-profile athletes coming out and saying that they’re struggling is a really great thing for society; It sort of normalises those conversations.” She said.

While Healy is confident in here own ability to cope with online abuse, she believes others take it more seriously.

For more information on ways Australian sport is tackling online abuse see Ministry of Sport.

Tennis Super Star Naomi Osaka ,under spotlight pressure.

This comes after Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka left mid interview due to mental health struggles earlier this year.

Osaka struggled with the online abuse she faced on social media, and this led to her taking time off from her tennis career.

“Ever since I was younger, I have had a lot of media interest on me, and I think it’s because of my background as well as how I play,” Osaka said

“But I would also say I’m not really sure how to balance the two.” She continued.

Osaka feels there is not enough protection for athletes against abuse.

“I felt under a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms—frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me. She said.

“I do not wish that on anyone and hope that we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones.” She continued.

For more information on Osaka’s struggles see Ministry of Sport.



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