Former India opener Gautam Gambhir has shared that opening up about mental health issues in the 1990s and early 2000s was considered mad by others as well. He also added that athelets need to interact with psychologists or trusted ones when it comes to dealing with mental health issues as well.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Gambhir said, “In the 90s and early 2000s, if you spoke about mental health, more than half the people thought you are mad. It was like, what are you talking about? This was especially in the subcontinent. For a long time, people used to think that sportspersons don’t face any pressure. Just go out and play. But a sportsperson’s life is very uncertain and only a sportsman can realize or handle that pressure.”
He further added: “I believe that sportspersons must go to psychologists. The relationship between a psychologist and a player should be very confidential. More importantly, it should be very strong. If you have any kind of mental health issues, and I am not just talking about sports, but off the field as well, speak to someone you trust. It is not necessary that only a psychologist gives you the right advice.”
Expressing his thoughts on the topic that has gained importance in the sporting fraternity in recent years, Gautam Gambhir opined that tough competition and insecurity as two of the major factors behind mental health problems as well.
“First and foremost, you need to understand why there is talk of mental health. The biggest cause of mental health issues is competition in every field. For example, if you get a job, you are given targets. If you don’t achieve them, then there are thousands of people waiting in line. In cricket, you know that if you don’ perform, there are ten thousand people to replace you. Such pressure did not exist in the 1980s. Since this corporate culture has come in, mental health issues have been on the rise. With more technology coming in, insecurities will increase. Ultimately, insecurity is the biggest cause of mental health issues – be it in your job, your relationship or any other thing. First and foremost, secure yourself,” Gautam Gambhir concluded.