Whether you realize or not, you probably have some soccer friends or teammates who are battling mental health issues today. It is extremely common, yet it is not something we don’t talk about enough.
You might have heard the phrase “It is OK not be OK” and that is an important message we should strive to communicate to friends and family. There are times when people feel alone, isolated and in a dark place. It is our job to let them know it is a normal feeling and that we are there to show love and support, to help them move forward from those tough feelings.
The below comes from an article posted on the SOCCER.com blog that highlights Schuyler DeBree’s journey and how she wants to impact other players who suffer similar feelings and emotions. The video, in particular, shares an incredibly powerful message.
Former Duke standout and rising NWSL defender Schuyler DeBree suddenly found herself in a deep mental health crisis that made her question everything. In this What It Takes episode, we sit down with Schuyler to talk about her struggles, how she navigated through the hardest time in her life, and how she is using her own experience to help destigmatize athlete mental health moving forward.
“Mental health can impact absolutely anyone. And I think knowing that it can impact athletes is a great place to start, because athletes are so commonly public figures, they are the epitome of strength, so I think if we can get across to people that even athletes deal with mental health issues, it will be a really good message to help people understand just how wide it is and it doesn’t discriminate.”
“I think a lot of people feel like if a coach found out that you’re not doing well mentally that no one is going to trust you on the field. There is definitely that pressure there to keep it to yourself.”
“I look at soccer in a really different way. I’m much better about separating my sense of self-worth from soccer.”
“I hope that I’m at least encouraging people to be honest. I think that other people sharing their perspectives and experiences can only be helpful.”
Schuyler cohosts a weekly podcast with former Duke lacrosse player Kat Zempolich. The Mental Matchup is focused on opening up dialogue on mental health by normalizing conversations, empowering those who suffer in silence, and supporting those who feel alone.
The podcast is presented by Morgan’s Message, a non-profit organization striving to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health within the student-athlete community. As a team, Schuyler and Kat bring together athletes, coaches, parents of athletes and other perspectives to share stories and try to get a diverse range of experiences to help people understand that they are not alone, destigmatize mental health and open up the conversation.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) for access to resources.
If You Know Someone in Crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.