An interesting recent article in The Atlantic highlights what has become something of an invisible epidemic: depression among elite college athletes. National trends point to declining mental health among undergraduates across the board:
[T]he American College Health Association reported in 2013 that 31.3 percent of undergraduates surveyed felt “so depressed it was difficult to function,” and 7.4 percent admitted to seriously considering suicide.
Athletes are no different, of course. The article captures the dichotomy of what has become, for many young athletes, an unresolvable conflict between maintaining a warrior façade and crumbling within:
“I dreaded waking up. My body would ache. I felt physically sick,” he said. “It was very hard, as a man playing D1 football, to go to somebody and say ‘I’m having a hard time’,” Meldrum said. He marvels at his ability to have made it to practice every day while feeling so desperate. “Here I am, I’m feeling sick, I wished I would die, and I have to go out there and hit people.”
Depression is surprisingly easy to hide for some people, and college is the typical age that most clinical cases first arise. It is no wonder that college hides so many depressive students, both athletes and nonathletes alike. If you know someone struggling with clinical depression, it is essential to seek help.