Naomi Osaka made history when she won the 2018 U.S. Open Tennis Championships, beating Serena Williams AND becoming the first Japanese woman to win the title.
It has been said that she will become "the next best player in tennis." However, accomplishing a feat like that was not easy to conquer, not only because of all the hard work and discipline required. For Osaka, her mental health as an athlete has been an obstacles that she has had to overcome for years.
The 21-year-old has not been afraid to open up when she’s struggling with her mental health. She has been very outspoken about her own depression, along with many other mental health issues that most athletes face.
“Yesterday I woke up and I was really depressed, but I don’t know why. Like, I’m so sad right now.
Athletes can easily get depressed, Usually, if you play sports, you think that one match or one game is very important, and when you lose it, you think your whole world is over. I can see how easily that can turn.”
One issue that we see in the world of sports right now is the growing number of athletes of any age who struggle with mental health. One in every five athletes has mental health issues, between 10-15% will experience psychological issues severe enough to warrant counseling.
"Mental illness is probably one of the greatest silent epidemics in our country."
The promising thing about this issues that more and more athletes are coming forward and sharing their own personal experience with mental health. These athletes are increasing mental health awareness for parents, coaches, teammates, friends, and athletic trainers. The more people who are educated about mental health, the more likely those who struggle with it will be more comfortable getting the help they need to overcome it.
Here at COMPASS Learning Advantage, we know that every athlete will deal with their own obstacles or disabilities, whether it be mental health, a physical handicap, or learning impediment. However, these problems do NOT define the athlete, and more importantly, the person that they are. Take Naomi's story as an example of someone who has chosen to believe that disabilities are not inabilities.