Mental health is a topic that is not brought up enough in the world of sports.
Defined, mental health has to do with our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It helps determine how we handle stress and affects how we think, feel and act.
Some examples of mental health disorders include anxiety, mood disorders such as depression, eating disorders and trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorders.
Lonnie Mulligan is a senior on the Ole Miss Soccer Team. Mulligan is a forward and has played in 48 games during her four year career.
She is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi and is majoring in exercise science. Although her 2021 season was cut short due to injury, Mulligan has had an impressive collegiate career at Ole Miss.
I talked with Mulligan on the overall issues surrounding mental health and how it has an immense effect on athletes all over the world.
On a day to day basis, how much stress do you deal with?
I would say I deal with an average amount of stress. As a senior, I have learned to balance school and soccer. I have drastically improved my time management skills, but I still get stressed about post graduate opportunities, but so do all college students, right?
I have also learned to better manage my stress and anxiety with the help of our sports psychologist on campus.
What comes to mind when you think of the term, “mental health”?
When I think of mental health, I think of how you take care of your mind and how your mind takes care of you. There’s a multitude of factors that fit into that term, but overall it’s referring to the well being of your mind.
Do you think athletes suffer more from mental health problems than regular people?
No, I think athletes can suffer just as much as anyone else because mental health doesn’t discriminate or care what you do on a daily basis.
I do think that people who are in an environment where mental health isn’t talked about as prevalent will suffer more in silence which I believe is more difficult because you can’t get the proper resources. So, I think it depends on how mental health is stigmatized in the environment.
Does soccer act as an “escape” for you?
Yes it does. It’s something I can do freely without being told what to do. I love that soccer is a game that is constantly flowing and changing which allows me to let go and just have fun.
Do you think the topic of mental health should be brought up more?
Yes. I believe our society has come so far with taking mental health more seriously, but there is still a lot of work to do to express to people that it’s nothing to be ashamed about when struggling with anything.
Mental health should be a priority for everyone considering how powerful our brain can be and how it can affect your everyday life.