The lockdown Indian cricketers have been forced to undergo has been good and bad in many ways. The forced break has given a lot of cricketers to spend time with their families, rest and recover. However, for some, the forced break has also caused them to have too much time on their hands; no training, traveling or games to play!
Uthappa Participates In Mental Health Session
Some cricketers have had to deal with their thoughts and confront their fears. A lot of cricketers in India suffer from mental health issues; but they are afraid to come forward and seek help. This is because mental health still does not get the amount of attention it deserves.
IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals (RR) recently organized a mental health session titled ‘Mind, Body and Soul’ which was sponsored by the RR foundation. Robin Uthappa who was part of team that won the 2007 T20 World Cup in South Africa was in attendance. The Bangalore-based batsman who many thought would make a massive mark on Indian cricket made a big splash but faded pretty quickly.
Uthappa continues to play for the IPL and is now part of the RR team for the 2020 season. He was very candid about his mental health issues during the ‘Mind, Body and Soul’ session.
Rajasthan Royals Addresses Mental Health Issues
Uthappa said that one of the most challenging times of his life was during 2009 to 2011 when he was battling clinical depression and was also having to battle with suicidal thoughts. The Bengaluru based player said that he often thought of jumping of his balcony and his biggest battle during this period was not about getting into the Indian team but surviving each day and staying alive.
The 35-year-old said that when he was playing cricket it was easier because he had far less time on his hands to think about his life and future. But during days when then was no cricket as well as during the off-season, things became very difficult as he did not know what his future would be. He admits that he does not know what kept him from jumping off his balcony but is grateful that he was able to come through those dark times.
Cricketers Can Help Shine Light On Mental Health Issues
Indian cricketers are treated like demi-gods and have massive social media followings. They are in a great position to elevate the mental health challenges which plague both young and old.
They not only need to get the help they need but also get rid of the stigma. One that says an individual is weak if they are battling depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Bollywood star Deepika Padukone shocked a lot of people when she admits that she suffers from manic depression. There are millions who believe there is no reason to have mental health issues; especially when one is as beautiful and successful as Deepika Padukone. However, her openness on the battles she faces with depression has encouraged a lot of young women to come forward.
One hopes that the work done by RR and Uthappa will encourage Indian cricketers to speak to their family, coaches and fellow players and get the help they need!