June 16, 2024
Mental Health Challenges of Athletes: Value of Emotional Support Animals
mental health yoga

In recent news, Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson is facing challenges related to mental health, causing him to miss a game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

Mental health professional and leading expert on animal-assisted therapy, Prairie Conlon, LCMHC, LPC, NCC, discusses mental health challenges athletes face and how emotional support animals can be beneficial:

“They are on the road, often away from their families. Granted it is a privileged lifestyle to be a professional athlete, but they are under a tremendous amount of pressure, and more importantly, mental health doesn’t adhere to any demographic, and I think that is an important point. Age, gender, race, socioeconomic status…. mental health knows no boundaries.”

 

Some NFL teams– like the 49ers “have put out there that they have a team emotional support animal and it’s a big step in the right direction for speaking out against mental health stigmas. It is about time that we ditch this idea that mental health is a negative thing and that if you suffer from a mental health issue, you have a distinguishing characteristic or personal trait. The fact that they went out on a limb and stated this dog is helping the team members with emotional support and mental health struggles is so progressive on their part and doing our nation a great service by identifying that openly. We need to be able to have an open dialogue about mental health. Suicide rates are higher than they have ever been. We need to come together and start supporting each other and beat the stigma of mental health.”

Story credit:  Prairie Conlon, LCMHC, LPC, NCC, and Clinical Director of CertaPet

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