World Mental Health Day 2020: highlighting athletes' stories to raise awareness

Phelps on life as an athlete with 2020 Olympics postponed (1:57)

Decorated Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps joins SVP to discuss what it will be like for the athletes this coming year after the 2020 Olympics were postponed to 2021. (1:57)

In recognition of World Mental Health Day 2020, ESPN brings you the stories of athletes, coaches and other sports figures managing their mental health and well-being.

These stories reflect a broad range of subjects and experiences, including new challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and social distancing.

The hope is that these stories help raise awareness, provide information and improve understanding about mental health, how sports figures seek treatment and the approaches that work for them.

How one text message changed a 'billion dollar' footballer for the worse ... and the better

Once tipped as the world's first billion-dollar player, in just four short years Vincent Pericard went from training with the likes of Zinedine Zidane to contemplating his own suicide. ESPN's Tom Hamilton spent 18 moths getting to know Pericard so he could tell his story.

Michael Phelps: 'This is the most overwhelmed I've ever felt'

Michael Phelps, the 23-time Olympic champion, opened up to ESPN's Wayne Drehs about his struggles with mental health and the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on him over the last few months.

Terry Brazier takes on MMA and PTSD: "It's the injury no-one can see"

Bellator MMA fighter Terry Brazier faces Yves Landu in Paris on Saturday evening. Last year, ESPN spent time with the former paratrooper who opened up about his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder after his time in Afghanistan with the British army.

Elinor Barker: The Olympian helping future generations of athletes to deal with mental health

Elinor Barker thought her summer was sorted. She was one of hundreds of athletes who planned to spend it in Japan competing at the 2020 Olympic Games. Following the tournament's postponement, Barker decided to turn her attention to helping young athletes in the UK look after their mental health. In her new role as an ambassador with Sporting Minds UK, Barker told ESPN's Kathleen McNamee about her experience with attitudes to mental health in sport and why she wanted to become involved with the charity.

The role of sports psychology in developing athletes

On ESPN FC's Gab and Juls podcast, Dr. Matt Slater discussed the role of sports psychologists during the coronavirus pandemic. Our hosts asked Dr. Slater how leaders in sport can help an athlete who isn't performing and they discussed whether the mental health aspect of sport has been ignored for too long.

Movember and Formula One

This week ESPN's Formula One podcast talked to Movember co-founder Justin Coughlan about the charity's work with F1. The two organisations have been working together for years at events such as the Mexican Grand Prix, where Movember hosts a barber shop in the paddock. It has attracted the support of drivers such as Daniel Ricciardo while Mercedes put the Movember moustache on its logo on the front of its pace car last year. Movember has already had a big impact but it is using sport to grow awareness worldwide.


How Movember is raising awareness of men's mental health in F1

Movember co-founder Justin Coghlan discusses the mental strength of drivers in F1.

Dom Bess: 'It's okay to struggle as a youngster, and it's okay to ask for help'

ESPN spoke with English cricketer Dom Bess who talked about how opening up to his teammates about his depression was one of the best things he could have done. Still only at the beginning of his career, the 22-year-old said he is grateful to the people around him who helped him find his form once more.

Switch Hit podcast: Marcus Trescothick and Chris Paget discuss their own experiences with mental health in cricket.


We came into the middle and I said 'I feel awful' - Trescothick

Former England and Somerset batsman Marcus Trescothick discusses the issue of mental health awareness in cricket

On Behind The Racquet, Noah Rubin brings tennis players' mental, emotional struggles into focus

Last January, Noah Rubin posted the first entry on his Instagram page Behind The Racquet. Since then over 40,000 people have followed the page which sets out to show the human side of sport, shining a spotlight on everything from eating disorders and speech impediments to the death of a parent and battles with depression and anxiety. Rubin told ESPN about his own journey and why he wanted to help people to share these stories.

Falcons TE Hayden Hurst Opens up About Depression and Attempted Suicide

Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst played competitive sports for his entire life. But in January 2016, after a season of college football, he tried to take his own life. Since getting professional help and support, he's been open about his struggles with anxiety and depression, and stays active in decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Hurst joins ESPN Daily to discuss his demons and how he's committed to helping others.

Katie Lou Samuelson: 'I realized I needed to ask for help'

Former UConn star and current Dallas Wings guard Katie Lou Samuelson opened up to ESPN's Mechelle Voepel about her mental health journey. Describing it as a puzzle she had to put together, she said it took years for her to stop making excuses for how she was feeling and face up to it.

Mental health and the NBA

ESPN senior writer Jackie MacMullan explores mental health and the NBA in this five-part series that first appeared in August 2018.

The courageous fight to fix the NBA's mental health problem
When making the NBA isn't a cure-all: Mental health and black athletes
To medicate or not: A difficult decision
Yelled at, spit on and insulted: Inside the life of an NBA ref
The future of mental health in the NBA

Making mental health a priority during the pandemic

ESPN spoke with Rebecca Colasanto, a licensed clinical social worker and the system director of behavioral health for Bristol Health, about how to manage and respond to the anxiety and stress that come with these rare times. Colasanto shares how athletes, coaches and sport fans can cope and manage anxiety and stress during the outbreak.

Vols QB Brian Maurer shares story to help others living with depression

"My goal was not to bring attention to myself, but to bring attention to mental health," Tennessee QB Brian Maurer told ESPN's Chris Low. "It's something a lot of people struggle with. And not only younger people, but all people. They battle it every day and keep it a secret. My thinking was that if a college athlete can come out and speak about how seeking help is the most important thing you can do, then maybe all those people out there struggling will reach out to somebody and know that there is always hope."

Divided we dance, united we move

You see them everywhere, homemade workout videos of people missing their long-lost classes now dancing or spinning or exercising alone. Living in the age of the coronavirus feels both hopeful and hopelessly lonely. Still, as ESPN senior writer Allison Glock shares in this essay, we find a way to dance together.