The statistics for depression and anxiety in sportsmen paint a bleak picture

Being a sportsman and sportswoman is an incredibly difficult job – and you could say that it has become even tougher with the advent of social media.

Always in the pubic eye under constant scrutiny, every move is watched and every action documented.

So, it perhaps isn’t surprising that a number of athletes have experienced anxiety and/or depression with the release of statistics by Rugby Advice on Instagram creating quite a bleak picture.

Studies have shown that 21% of male student athletes have reported experiencing depression, with 31% reporting symptoms of anxiety.

With mental health taking a greater precedence than ever before, it’s good that such studies have been undertaken, but more clearly needs to be done to alleviate the pressure that sportsmen continue to suffer under.

Yes, athletes know what a life in sport entails, but there needs to be an increasing dedication to ensuring that help is always available – especially as more online bullies take to their keyboards because they feel a degree of invincibility behind a computer screen.

Greater scrutiny on the internet world could help as could longer sentences for online trolls – deterrence may make people think twice.

But, it’s the culture that is seemingly engrained in the sporting fraternity that has to be stamped out at its root – why is this happening in the first place?

It would be nonsensical to advise sportsmen and sportswomen to stay off social media, because why should they? They have as much right as anyone to take their presence online.

Unfortunately, the time we are living in has seen anxiety and depression rise rapidly in sportspeople as well as the ordinary person and governing bodies must be one step ahead to ensure the statistics do not get any more harrowing.

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