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  • Writer's pictureMikayla Perry

“Mental Health and Mental Wealth”: The intensity of maintaining good mental health on black athletes

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

BALTIMORE, MD - The first HBCU Sports Summit held in Baltimore, MD took place at the M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday June 3rd, 2023. The Summit highlighted HBCU schools along with current and former HBCU athletes. Following a plethora of committees was a “Mental Health and Mental Wealth” panel emphasizing the importance of maintaining good mental health while being an HBCU athlete.

CREDIT : Mikayla Perry, The Maryland State Authority, HBCU Sports Summit and M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens) 

Mental health is something that should never be taken lightly. It has the ability to flip our minds upside down and it can be very dangerous when not taken care of. Studies have shown that in 2023, about 30% of HBCU student athletes struggle from depression. That does not include other mental health issues such as anxiety, eating disorder, burn out, bipolar disorder etc., so that is a big problem.

Athletes like Baltimore Raven's wide receiver Shemar Bridges who attended an HBCU says that mental health is definitely serious and should not be brushed off. "It can be tough at times, for sure. And I want to be somebody to admit that, I think a lot of people try to run from it. Mental health can definitely be tough, it's a lot of pressure on you," Bridges said. "With a job like this it's a lot of stuff thrown at you, so you got to be able to balance it. Have your mind, your spirit and your everything right and having good people around you to always give you advice when you do go through those tough times is big."


Mental Health Association expert Chelsea Contreras believes that paying attention to mental health in all communities is necessary. "I would say definitely the need, especially in communities of color; people who need mental health services are not receiving them and also they don't know where to look for those mental health services," says Contreras. "I feel like if there's more people advocating for mental health then we can definitely get the message out."

According to some studies, sport's performance is 90% mental and 10% physical. However, there is a debate on the real percentage as some studies go to say it is 100% mental. This really puts an emphasis on the importance of maintaining good mental health as it plays a huge factor in the overall performance and outcome in any sport.

By, Mikayla Perry

Contributions: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens), The Maryland State Authority, HBCU Sports Summit

Photo: Mikayla Perry

Video: ESPN

Video: Arielle Dickerson

Audio: Mikayla Perry


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