Mental health first - GulfToday

Mental health first


Simone Biles

Sarah Taryam, Arts Editor

The topic of mental health is being spoken about so loudly in all aspects of life these days and even more so lately in the world of sports. This week we take a look at how mental health impacts our lives and our work and knowing when we should take a step back to rest.

When Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon to prioritise her mental health the world’s reaction was mixed. She was supported by some and also criticised by the likes of Piers Morgan. I think she was brave to admit her reasons for withdrawing, is she not after all a human being with feelings like you and me?

The incredible multi-gold winning American gymnast Simone Biles went into her second Olympics with enormous pressure on her shoulders, and she cracked. She announced that she pulled out of the all-around final and the women’s team final citing that her mental health needed to come first. This brings us to the important issue of knowing when the time is to take a step back from work if we need to concentrate on our mental health and to do so without shame or guilt.  

Some warning signs of needing to take a step back include feeling the need to be perfect all the time. Perfectionism is associated with anxiety and depression as we strive for a level of performance that requires almost super-human abilities. It is not healthy nor is it realistic. Always feeling like a failure is another sign that you might need a time-out to sort out your mental health.

Constantly driving for perfection and then not achieving that idea of perfection can cause a lot of psychological issues for us. Read on to find out more on this important topic and what we can do to support each other.

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