Check out the video above, submitted by Michigan swimming alum Emily Brunemann. Emily has been instrumental in SwimSwam’s ongoing series on mental health. You can read an excerpt from one of her earlier pieces below.
The video was produced by a pair of current Michigan student-athletes with aquatic ties: swimmer Maddie Frost and water polo player Emily Browning.
MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS: ONCE A TABOO TOPIC, NOW MORE IMPORTANT TO DISCUSS THAN EVER BEFORE
Everyone struggles at some point, whether it’s dealing with the loss of a loved one, living with depression or experiencing anxiety before a competition. Yet, instead of feeling connected to others that struggle, we feel alone because of the culture we live in. This performance-based culture breeds the tough-it-out mindset and promotes perceptions that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
As a community, we have to change that.
The swimming world has been shaken with the tragic and untimely deaths of multiple young swimmers across the country. Mental health wellness and conversations about mental illness are more important than ever.
The most difficult part about initiating a conversation around mental health wellness is that many mental illnesses or struggles faced by athletes can be hidden beneath the surface. When a person breaks their leg, it is a visible injury, one that people not only see, but will force the injured to ask for help. Mental illness does not operate in that way: people can spend years hiding their struggles without reaching for help. This fact makes it necessary to foster honest conversations around mental health wellness, the pressures faced by athletes and the promotion of help-seeking for those who are struggling.