Athletes and Their Mental Health

By Hailey Abdilla

High school sports are fun, but they can place an unbearable amount of pressure on high-achieving athletes. Whether you’re trying to get recruited or just trying to have a successful year, athletes are often left to deal with difficult slumps coupled with perfectionist tendencies with little to no resources to deal with any of the conflicts. A recent tragedy at Stanford reminded the world that athletes are people too, with struggles and shortcomings like everyone else. A standout senior on the Stanford soccer team and the starting goalkeeper, Katie Meyer, took her own life on March 1, 2022. According to Katie’s family and friends, there were zero warning signs that Katie was struggling, a common sentiment shared by those close to high functioning athletes who suffer with suicidal ideation. High level sports often push a dangerous and unattainable narrative of perfection, causing athletes to blame themselves when they are unable to meet these impossible standards. Between the pressure filled environments, overbearing coaches, and sky high expectations, it’s no wonder that athletes often struggle in silence. However, there is a solution. At some point, athletic institutions need to start caring more about their players than the win. Many colleges and universities have already instituted sport psychologists available to college athletes. In addition, the mindsets among coaches and parents are beginning to shift. At the end of the day, our mindsets as a society need to change, along with resources becoming more readily available if we’re going to effectively tackle the issue of mental health among athletes.