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Why Health & Fitness Pros Need to Speak Up about Their Mental Health Concerns


For most people signing onto their Facebook last week tragedy felt like the major theme. The news was simultaneously eye-opening, confusing, and terrifying. Anthony Bourdain, American Chef, dead at 61. Days earlier, Kate Spade, an American fashion designer, suffered the same fate at 55. Both cases happened in the same week merely days apart from each other and what was most striking about it was the cause of death for both cases: suicide.


[National Posture Institute] Why Health & Fitness Pros Need to Speak Up about Their Mental Health Concerns


This is a heavy topic; rightfully so because matters of life and death, and ultimately living are serious subjects. There’s so much to debate on these topics, but what most can agree on is how difficult it can be to live with and acknowledge the presence of mental health concerns. Sometimes the answers aren’t clear and the symptoms of an issue go unnoticed.


The scary part about mental health is it isn’t something you can discern firsthand. It’s more complicated and frequent than most realize and so it’s no wonder issues tend to fly under the radar without our noticing until sometimes, unfortunately, it’s too late. Someone close to you might be battling with a serious problem and you’d never know. Let’s not downplay the fact that you may also be wrestling with concerns of your own.


It’s easy to stay silent. You might feel by reaching out and speaking up you’ll be rejected or you’ll feel like you’re taking up space. So, you sit quietly and battle in silence. Some days you feel great and others feel like a mess, but so long as you’re here it’s fine, right? There’s a spectrum, we all fall on that spectrum; some cases are worse than others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t discuss problems or open up about what you’re experiencing.


If the fitness industry was a person, one of its greatest traits would be pride, but in this case pride can be an Achilles heel. Mentalities like “just power through” and “suck it up and keep going” aren’t helpful. Ignoring a problem because it’s not manly/womanly to discuss it is a negative attitude. This has to end for us as an industry. Members of our industry should already be encouraging each other, but also we need to be encouraged to open up about the issues we’re experiencing.


There’s nothing beneficial about staying silent about mental health, nor is sweeping these concerns under the rug or failing to acknowledge that they exist. Sometimes these issues don’t seem serious; they start from minor stressors and as time flows things build up. Some of it is like a gunk that accumulates in the system and it isn’t cleared so it tends to spill over to other areas of life. It’s of great concern how many of our pros deal with mental health concerns and it goes unchecked. It has to stop; we have to encourage more discussion on this subject.


Kate and Anthony aren’t the only ones who wrestled with their concerns.  Thousands are suffering through mental health concerns. An even greater number refuse to admit that they are and would rather power through it because it seems insignificant or mean spirited to acknowledge a personal issue when so many have it worse.


There should be no scale for loving one’s self and acknowledging when something doesn’t feel right or when the stresses of life are mounting and you need a break. This isn’t to say that people don’t experience hardships or worse issues, but you should never keep quiet just because someone has it worse. Do something about it.


If you’re feeling depressed, contemplating thoughts of suicide or self-harm, or just need someone to talk too about things happening, it’s a great idea to seek help. If you know someone you can trust and speak too, contact them. If you’d rather speak to a professional then schedule a meeting. If you’re feeling like there are things in your life that don’t make sense or are weighing you down, making a regular appointment to see a counselor or mental health professional might be your best bet.


You should never have to feel alone or like you’ve got no one to speak too and don’t try to handle it all yourself. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s perfectly fine to have moments and need space for yourself to rebuild after feeling broken. Lastly, if you’re on the fence about getting help, get the help. There’s no shame in any of this, you could be saving a life, namely yours.


As stated earlier, this is a heavy topic but it’s one that should be discussed. Shifting away from this, I want to mention that our trends survey is officially over and that report will be available to you in July. Thanks to all those who took the time to respond, we appreciate your dedication.


I also want to promote our CEC/CEU courses. From Nutrition and Senior Fitness to Exercise Science, these courses are perfect for recertification or building a firm understanding of the subject material. It’s a great idea to stay up to date on the educational side of things.


Here’s the link >>

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