COMMENTARY: Mental Health Awareness Matters
By Cierra Mayes, Texas Metro News Writer | 8/21/2019, 8:11 a.m.
With so much going on in the world today, there are many real-world issues that are in need of our focus. One of these issues happens in our everyday lives: mental health. There is so much awareness that needs to be brought to mental health that goes unnoticed. Many of these issues began from trauma caused in one’s life.
If we took the time to address these problems, we would be able to avoid many wrong doings of others in our community and around the world. Everyone has that one friend they don’t see eye to eye with sometime. For many people, I know that friend can be anxiety. Anxiety happens to everyone whether you realize it or not.
It can become a bigger issue when it’s affecting your everyday life and you believe what you’re feeling is true. Anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and more, are all things that can be controlled. Depression is another issue that is triggered from one’s trauma. It is important that if you face one of the many issues, you seek help.
There are many who are willing to help those that are affected. Raven Fairley, a graduate student from the University of Missouri, with a focus in sports management, has created a platform that focuses on the mental health issues of professional athletes. Even though she focuses on professional athletes, she is willing to help anyone in need.
“The Silent Injury” is an organization Ms. Fairley created to share with others the importance of mental health. Growing up in a sport household where her grandfather, father, and uncle had always been involved in sports, sports was something that she knew about and kept her focus towards. She says the reason she wants to focus on professional athletes is because they are the ones that have issues that go unnoticed. “Injury depression is real. I’ve experienced up close with a lot of my guy friends in football and basketball.
“When they get injured, they wonder if they’re going to be back on the field, or while they’re out, who’s going to take their spot, and ‘when I get heeled, am I going to have my spot back?’ For them, they’re not only in physical pain, but mental pain as well,” she said. Mental health awareness in athletes is definitely an issue that should be addressed.
High profile cases such as the O.J. Simpson trial and Aaron Hernandez case are prime examples. Many players have their mind focused on playing sports professionally, and if it doesn’t happen some began to think negative thoughts about what they are doing and other options for their future. The environment you are raised in plays a big role in anyone’s mental health.
For athletes, if you have your family depending on you to make it, it can hurt that player mentally if a pro career doesn’t materialize, Ms. Fairley said. “Just seeing in the Black community that we don’t necessarily acknowledge mental health issues, we just kind of push them off to the side, really caught my interest.
We always hear “just pray about it” and just kind of brush it under the rug. Even though mental health issues are becoming a problem in the media, it has always been an issue.” Besides athletes, our favorite celebrities, and those we aspire to be [like], go through rough times also.
More people are open to talk about their mental health now more than ever because many have created that space for one to talk about their problems. Raven Fairley’s organization is set to launch at the end of 2019.
Cierra Mayes is an intern at I Messenger Media LLC. She is a graduate of North Texas University.