Two runners silhouetted against a bright sun.

An Example of Suicide Prevention Being About Many Different Things

I was intrigued by the results of this study showing such a significant increase in the number of suicides among college athletes.

Suicides among a surprising population have doubled over the past 20 years, study finds

I’ll admit that when I saw the subhead explaining that the population in question is college athletes, I immediately thought of the pressure of big-time college athletics. Then I saw that they found the highest percentage among male cross-country athletes. No offense to cross-country athletes, but that is not what I pictured when discussing the media and societal pressure of big-time college athletics.

On the other hand, chronic pain being a contributing factor would make sense, too. As could the pressure of losing a scholarship, failing at athletics or school, being away from home, etc.

The one thing you can say for sure is that a lack of exercise is not the reason for the mental health struggles of college athletes, so maybe we can stop suggesting that as the “cure” for every instance of depression. It is not that simple.

The other thing I will say is that mental health struggles are complicated. Maybe the most individual thing about us is the way our minds work. We shouldn’t expect the various mental health struggles we have to be the same as everyone else’s mental health struggles. For some people dealing with anxiety and depression, more exercise or time in nature might help. For a cross-country athlete, I doubt that is what they are lacking. The comments from the researchers in the article above made it clear to me that there are a multitude of reasons why the rate among student-athletes has been getting higher. That means the solutions are likely to include various options as well.

That’s not a bad thing. It just means we have to find what works best for us individually.

As I’ve repeatedly said, find what works for you and stick with it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise or convince you to stop doing something that works for you. Don’t give up if what your friend or an online influencer does that works for them doesn’t work for you. Every one of these lives is worth the effort to find what will make them want to stay. That includes you.

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