WVU Director of Clinical and Sports Psychology Adrian Ferrera

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) — WVU Director of Clinical and Sport Psychology Adrian Ferrera joins this week’s Sunday Sit Down to break down the conversation about mental health as it relates to student-athletes.

The conversation around mental health has gotten stronger in recent years, but just because the conversation is there now doesn’t mean the struggles weren’t in the past, “I think it’s definitely there, we we just’ I think there’s been more publicly now that we have professional athletes who talk more openly about their mental health issues and because they’re open about it, we have young athletes who can consider them like role models or heroes. if you want to use that word and they’re like oh my hero also struggles with some of the same things that I do, so now they’re able to talk about it a little more openly,” Ferrera said. .

Ferrera noted one aspect of the mental health conversation that should be included more than it is, “I think it’s starting to be part of the conversation of athletes who aren’t being tender if they’re asking for help. help, I think that was the previous notion, that if you’re struggling with something, go figure it out for yourself.

Athletics is not the same as it was decades ago, the demands and stresses of today are not the same as it was years ago. had to be in a certain area to see it but now with the internet everything is everywhere so if i do something good it’s on the internet in 15 seconds, if i do something horrible it’s on the internet in 10 seconds or even faster and I can get great feedback, I can get negative feedback, everything our student-athletes do is exposed to the world, literally the world, so I think when there’s more looks at you there is also this feeling of I have to preform better or I have to perform better, if we insert NIL as well as the name image and the likeness of the better performance, the more money I can potentially earn , so I think that started to change as well.

Sometimes the struggles an athlete may face are not obvious to the naked eye. “Think about what is happening in our country where in the last three months three Division 1 athletes have committed suicide which I think shows the pain that some of our student-athletes may be going through. to cross, but the normal spectator who is at home, they just see the student-athlete who is trying his best and trying his best, that he is the best athlete he can be and that there are probably children who look up to these athletes a thought that this athlete has it all figured out, but internally this athlete can really struggle and almost have to put on a mask or a face just to go play their sport,” Ferrera said.

When it comes to West Virginia specifically, the athletes don’t feel the support of the state, but sometimes the pressure: “A lot of our student-athletes know that, especially in the state of West Virginia, a lot of people look up to them but at the same time I think some people may forget that they are real human beings first and do super athletic things when they put on a WVU uniform so I always challenge our viewers to think before to share the negative comment to think about this human being the first who may have to read that comment or replay that comment as they try to fall asleep to get ready to do the next thing the next day,” Ferrera said.

For any struggling student-athlete, who may be afraid to ask for help, Ferrera likens it to getting a hitting coach for softball or baseball, you get a coach for what you need. help, maybe it’s a mental barrier, maybe it’s to build muscle, it’s all about making someone a better all-around athlete, “I think everyone deserves to talk to someone it’s actually a sign of strength to ask for help, which is actually probably the opposite of what we’ve probably heard in sports, to understand, do it on your own , but if we think of the number of athletes who have had some type of coach, mentor in their lives, someone who encouraged them to get into sport, someone who kept them in sport , no one gets to level 1 or college on their own, so if you have mental health issues, why would we think no us that we would overcome this on our own? »

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