The Shift in Athletes’ Focus on Mental Health | WSJ

“The Shift in Athletes’ Focus on Mental Health | WSJ” is a thought-provoking article that explores how the conversation around mental health in sports has evolved, particularly in light of Olympic athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka. The Wall Street Journal video examines how the stigma and treatment of athletes’ mental state have undergone significant changes. It highlights the importance of prioritizing mental health to achieve success and enjoyment in sports. The article also emphasizes how athletes are now more comfortable discussing their mental health and treating it as an essential aspect of their overall well-being. This shift in perspective is not only beneficial for athletes themselves, but it also paves the way for broader societal conversations about mental health.

The article presents a compelling argument that mental health should be given the same attention and consideration as physical injuries. It discusses how teams, franchises, athletes, and coaches have started treating mental health differently, acknowledging its impact on an athlete’s performance and overall happiness. The article also touches on the growing cooperation between larger organizations and athletes to better understand mental health diagnoses and provide appropriate support. It emphasizes the need for people to recognize that athletes have emotions, lives outside of sport, and deserve to prioritize their mental well-being. Overall, this thought-provoking article highlights the positive changes happening in the sports world concerning mental health and their potential to drive broader societal conversations.

The Shift in Athletes’ Focus on Mental Health


In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the way athletes perceive and prioritize mental health. This change has been driven by high-profile athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, who have openly discussed their struggles with mental health. Their bravery and willingness to speak out have sparked important conversations about the importance of mental well-being in the world of sports. This article will explore the changing attitude towards mental health among athletes, the influence of high-profile athletes, the breaking down of the stigma surrounding mental health, the collaboration between organizations and athletes, the physical and mental demands of sports, and the benefits of open conversations. It is clear that athletes are recognizing the significance of mental health in their overall well-being and are paving the way for a more holistic approach to athlete care.

The Changing Attitude Towards Mental Health

The perception of mental health within the sports community has undergone a significant transformation in recent years. Previously, mental health was often overlooked or ignored due to the stigma surrounding it. However, athletes are now recognizing the importance of prioritizing their mental well-being alongside their physical fitness. Mental health is being viewed as a crucial aspect of overall health and performance, similar to how physical injuries are treated and addressed. This evolution in attitude has led to a greater emphasis on the treatment and support available for athletes struggling with mental health issues.

The Shift in Athletes Focus on Mental Health | WSJ

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Athletes’ Realization of the Importance of Mental Health

Athletes themselves have played a vital role in driving the focus on mental health. Many high-profile athletes, including Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka, have spoken publicly about the significance of mental well-being. These athletes have highlighted the impact that mental health has on their performance and have stressed the correlation between mental and physical health. By sharing their experiences and struggles, they have helped to normalize discussions around mental health and encourage others to prioritize their mental well-being.

The Influence of High Profile Athletes

The influence of high-profile athletes in creating a conversation around mental health cannot be underestimated. Simone Biles, in particular, has been a game-changer in this regard. Her decision to withdraw from competitions at the Tokyo Olympics to prioritize her mental health sparked a global discussion on the topic. Other athletes have followed suit, speaking out about their own struggles and contributing to the ongoing dialogue. By using their platforms to promote open discussions and support, these athletes have broken down barriers and encouraged individuals at all levels of sport to seek help when needed.

The Shift in Athletes Focus on Mental Health | WSJ

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Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Health

Historically, mental health has carried a significant amount of stigma. However, this stigma is slowly being dismantled, in large part due to the courage and openness of high-profile athletes. The willingness of athletes to talk about their mental health challenges has helped to normalize the conversation and reduce the shame associated with seeking help. This shift in attitudes has created a safer and more supportive environment for athletes to address their mental health concerns and has encouraged others to do the same.

Cooperation Between Organizations and Athletes

Recognizing the importance of mental health, sports organizations have begun to collaborate with mental health professionals to provide resources and support to athletes. This collaboration aims to understand mental health diagnoses and tailor treatment plans for individual athletes. By working together, organizations and athletes can ensure that mental health is taken as seriously as physical health, promoting overall well-being and performance.

The Shift in Athletes Focus on Mental Health | WSJ

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The Physical and Mental Demands of Sports

Sports, especially at the elite level, place significant physical and mental demands on athletes. The rigorous training process requires athletes to build mental toughness and balance their physical and mental well-being. Managing stress and pressure is crucial for athletes to perform at their best. While the public often only sees the excellence and grace of athletes during competitions, there is often a great deal of private anguish and hard work behind the scenes. Understanding and supporting the mental well-being of athletes is essential to help them achieve and sustain their peak performance.

Recognizing Athletes as Humans

It is important to remember that athletes are humans first and foremost. They have emotions, personal lives, and face challenges outside of their sport. Emphasizing the humanity of athletes helps to create a more holistic approach to athlete care. Athletes should be encouraged to take care of themselves, both physically and mentally, and to prioritize their well-being. This recognition enables athletes to thrive not only in their sport but also in their personal lives.

The Shift in Athletes Focus on Mental Health | WSJ

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The Benefits of Open Conversations

Open conversations surrounding mental health in sports have brought about numerous benefits. Athletes are now more comfortable discussing their mental health and seeking help when needed. This willingness to address mental health concerns promotes overall well-being, leading to enhanced performance and a more positive experience in sports. Moreover, open conversations about mental health in sports have created a ripple effect, extending beyond the sports world and influencing broader societal discussions on mental health.

Sports as a Catalyst for Broader Societal Conversations

Sports have long served as a vessel for broader societal conversations, and the focus on mental health is no exception. The shift in athletes’ focus on mental health has prompted discussions not only within the sports realm but also within workplaces and society at large. By seeing athletes openly discussing mental health and seeking support, individuals in other industries and communities are more likely to feel comfortable doing the same. This normalization of mental health discussions has the potential to bring about positive change on a societal level.


The shift in athletes’ focus on mental health is a positive and necessary change. Athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka have played a crucial role in driving this shift by openly discussing their struggles and prioritizing their mental well-being. The changing attitude towards mental health, the breaking down of stigma, and the cooperation between organizations and athletes have all contributed to a greater emphasis on mental health in sports. Recognizing athletes as humans and promoting open conversations about mental health have led to numerous benefits for athletes and broader society. It is essential to continue providing ongoing support and awareness to ensure that mental health remains a priority in the world of sports and beyond.

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