Brandon Marshall and Mental Health

How Brandon Marshall Became an Advocate for Mental Health

To many, professional football is a gladiator sport with little room for weakness or emotion. In reality, professional athletes often experience the same mental and emotional challenges that plague our society as a whole. For NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, mental health issues had become a constant burden that put his career and well-being in jeopardy. That all changed, however, when he summoned the courage to ask for help.

 

A Huge Revelation

On July 31, 2011, Brandon Marshall shocked the sports world when he announced that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). A serious mental illness, BPD is characterized by pervasive instability in moods, self-image, interpersonal relationships and behavior.

Until his diagnosis, Marshall had struggled with his emotions, which manifested as outbursts both on and off the field. After a string of arrests, a trade, and fines from the league, Marshall sought help from a mental health professional, who determined that BPD was the underlying cause of the star athlete's difficulties. This revelation put Marshall on a course for improvement, but it was his courage and honesty that raised eyebrows.

 

Becoming a Role Model

Characterized by aggression and big hits, the NFL hasn't always been the most enlightened profession. Despite this culture, Brandon Marshall was brave enough to tell his story. While many players might have worried about being judged, Marshall felt compelled to stand up to help eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Since his original announcement, Marshall has spoken to NFL owners and coaches in an attempt to humanize players. He has also become a public advocate for mental health awareness, headlining speaking engagements aimed at educating the sports world and society about the realities and myths surrounding mental illness.

 

A Problem for Men and Women

Unfortunately, research suggests that large numbers of men and women fail to address their mental health issues. They are also often hesitant to disclose a mental health problem to friends and family. Many times, this is due to widespread stigmas related to mental illness. All too often, these people choose to mask their pain with alcohol and drugs. Sadly, many go on to commit suicide, because they feel the there is no way out of their predicaments.

As Brandon Marshall has shown, mental illness can affect athletes, celebrities and ordinary people. It's not a weakness or a choice; it is a health condition that affects a person's thinking, behavior and feelings. Whether they are male, female, famous or not - each day, countless people take the courageous first step toward treating their mental health issues, so they can live fuller, happier lives.

 

Getting Help

As Brandon Marshall showed, even physically healthy, successful people can experience mental health challenges. By summoning the courage to ask for help, however, Marshall was able to drastically improve his quality of life. He has also gained significant respect in a variety of social and professional circles, thanks to his courageous efforts to erase the stigmas associated with mental illness.

If you are struggling with mental health issues, it's important to understand that it isn't a sign of weakness. By seeking professional help, you are actually showing that you have the courage to take a big first step toward getting treatment and living a better life.

 

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